Thai 'Red Shirt' leader surrenders

2011-12-07 13:21

Bangkok - A militant leader of Thailand's "Red Shirt" protest movement surrendered to authorities on Wednesday on terrorism charges over his role in opposition rallies last year, after almost 20 months on the run.

Arisman Pongruangrong, who narrowly avoided capture by police commandos in April 2010 by climbing out of the third-floor window of a Bangkok hotel, turned himself in to the justice ministry's department of special investigation (DSI).

"I acknowledged and denied all the charges and will give more testimony in a written statement," he told reporters.

Arisman is believed to have hidden in neighbouring Cambodia after fleeing the capital in the wake of the bungled attempt to arrest him in connection with mass anti-government protests which turned deadly.

More than 90 people, mostly civilians, were killed and nearly 1 900 were wounded during the two months of rallies, which drew about 100 000 Red Shirts, many of whom support fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The controversial ex-leader's sister Yingluck Shinawatra is now prime minister after a resounding election victory by his party earlier this year.

Arisman was due to appear later on Wednesday before the Criminal Court where he was expected to seek release on bail.

The hardliner led thousands of protesters who stormed the venue of an Asian summit in the Thai resort city of Pattaya in 2009, forcing its cancellation as leaders were evacuated.