By THE NATION
Justice deputy permanent secretary and spokesman Thawatchai Thaikhiew said yesterday that following Chitpas’s initial application seeking financial help from the Justice Fund, the fund had requested that she submit her tax documents to prove she should be a priority.
The ministry’s fund managers had sent her a request form by mail, Thawatchai said, but it was not signed for and was returned to the fund.
Subsequently, fund managers chose not to scrap her request, Thawatchai added.
Chitpas was eligible to re-apply anytime, the spokesman said.
The Justice Fund was set up in 2006 and is open to anyone needing financial assistance in pursuit of a lawsuit but gives priority to low-income earners.
Chitpas is widely recognised as an heiress to a giant beverage corporation, and has changed her surname at her family’s request.
It has been speculated that she had applied for financial assistance to stall for time in the criminal cases against her.
The charges stem from the 2013 to 2014 demonstrations aimed at toppling the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.
Chitpas was one of the key leaders in the now-defunct movement officially known as the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
She had postponed a meeting with public prosecutors, citing the pending application to the Justice Fund.
The fund reportedly sought financial documents from Chitpas several times and extended the time period for her to respond, but officials say that she never did.
Chitpas has also faced severe public censure after the news went public about her application to the fund.
She had a previous case regarding her social and financial status.
During the PDRC protest, Chitpas gave an interview to a foreign media outlet that was perceived as an insult to rural people. The incident has made her a prime target of criticism ever since.