POLICE in Nakhon Phanom returned 195,000 baht seized on suspicion it was intended to buy votes to a grocery store owner after both the investigators and provincial Election Commission officials did not find any evidence to support the charge, Naewna newspaper said.
Mr. Manop (surname withheld) said the cash was confiscated from him at 3 p.m. on May 12 after he drove his pickup truck from his house in Ban Nong Hai village in Tha Uthen district to buy supplies for his grocery store.
Nakhon Phanom police seized the cash despite not finding any evidence linked to vote buying and only returned the money after the investigation procedure was completed, he said.
While being a Pheu Thai Party supporter, Manop clarified that as a merchant he always carried over 100,000 baht in cash with him but had never bought votes .
He supported Pheu Thai in good faith and it was within his rights to support any party he preferred, he added.
Manop also said that he had turned into a political scapegoat because after the cash was seized some media outlets had run defamatory reports that he was the head of Pheu Thai’s vote-buying team.
Some ill-intentioned people targeted him and wrongly tipped off the police.
“I have talked to Pheu Thai’s legal department to take legal action against those who distorted the truth which is a defamation through advertising offence and violation of the Computer Crimes Act and they are going to speed it up,” he said.
Pol. Lt. Col. Suphot Kaewmanee, deputy chief for investigation, said that the cash was seized by Nakhon Phanom police together with Election Commission officials to strictly prevent vote buying during the general election. After no evidence of wrongdoing was found the cash was returned according to the legal procedure.
Manop getting the seized cash back today, May 17, 2023. Photo: Matichon