Published on Aug 13, 2004
A Hong Kong woman who whipped up a media storm last year with a fabricated rape story was among 12,000 inmates released nationwide yesterday to mark Her Majesty the Queen's 72nd birthday.
So Leong-ying was immediately deported following her release, said Kanchana Keskarn, deputy director-general of the Corrections Department.
So, 30, was sentenced to one-and-a-half-years after telling police that she was raped by a tuk-tuk driver and three other men in June last year. She later admitted fabricating the story.
Kanchana said So, who served 14 months, had behaved well behind bars and was among 25,000 inmates who deserved amnesty from Her Majesty.
Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkanjana said 12,000 inmates from prisons around the country were released yesterday and 13,000 others would be gradually released over a 60-day period.
Inmates released from Bangkok prisons were each given Bt200 by the Po Tek Tueng Foundation and another Bt200 from Pojaman Shinawatra, wife of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. They also received a travel bag and toiletries.
Among the inmates released was former long-serving Ubon Ratchathani MP Dusit Sophitcha, who was a member of the now-defunct Solidarity Party.
Dusit was arrested on December 28, 1990 for extorting Bt1 million and a pickup truck from Tipco Aslphat Co Ltd.
The Supreme Court upheld the lower courts' guilty verdict on September 27, 2000 and he was sentenced to four years in jail.
Some inmates also saw their terms commuted.
Those receiving commuted jail terms included Thawee Puthachan, who was convicted of masterminding the murder of Saengchai Sunthornwat, the then director of the Mass Communications Organisation of Thailand, and Jirayu Jarassathien, who was convicted of bribery in the Public Health Ministry's medical-supplies purchasing scandal.
Meanwhile, members of the public gathered at the Royal Palace yesterday to sign a well-wishers book for Her Majesty.
Former prime minister Chuan Leekpai was among the well- wishers.
Khunying Pojaman Shinawatra, the wife of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, donated Bt1 million for the travelling expenses of 2,909 inmates released from prison yesterday.
Each inmate was given Bt200 to pay for their trip home, Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkanjana said.
The rest of the money - Bt418,200 - will be held in reserve for other inmates to be released over the next two months, an act marking the celebration of the 72nd birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
A total of 25,000 inmates will be released across the nation over the next two months. Twelve thousand were released yesterday.
Thaksin presided over the release ceremony of 2,909 inmates at Klong Prem Prison.Thaksin asked the inmates to remember the kindness of Her Majesty for granting them amnesty, and keep in mind the love of their families so that they would not commit crimes again.
"Anyone feeling tempted to commit a crime may write me at the PM's Office, and I'll send someone to help immediately," Thaksin said.