An AFP report has received fairly wide attention because it refers to perhaps hundreds of people locked up in part because of being caught/identified by the “magic wand” known as the GT200.
As almost everyone knows, that GT200 was a not too elaborate hoax explosives-cum-drug “detector” that the report refers to as “bogus.” The report notes that:
Human rights activists say more than 400 people have been locked up – some for up to two years – on the basis of spurious evidence gleaned by the device, which is at the centre of a British fraud probe.
This is because the GT200 became the army’s main detection tool for gunpowder residues and bombs. This despite the fact that:
Evidence debunking the powers of the GT200 – sold by Britain-based Global Technical Ltd – has long been in circulation, with experts describing it as little more than a radio aerial stuck on a useless piece of plastic despite the company’s claims that it can detect explosives from hundreds of metres away.
Angkhana Neelapaijit of the Justice for Peace foundation states that “[p]eople in the south knew the GT200 was fake from the first time it was used” back in 2007. She adds that “the Thai authorities refused to listen… all trust in the government and army has been lost.”
Even now, the report states that “the powerful military has refused to concede it was duped over its rumoured $20 million acquisition, or apologise to those held in what rights groups say is a flagrant miscarriage of justice.” In addition, the Army “refutes accusations of arbitrary detentions based on the faulty device.”
The talking heads at the Army refute so many things in circumstances that show they are simply lying, that no sensible person believes anything they say.
This time the “spokesperson/fabricator” is Colonel Pramote Promin of the Internal Security Operations Command who says: “It might be a hallucination but we found (weapons) many times. It might be a fluke or coincidence that it worked,” adding that the GT200′s effectiveness could be “something above science“. The work of a mysterious demi-god perhaps?
At least it seems that the Army has “stopped mass round-ups of men for ‘wanding’ by the device, which were commonplace between 2007 and 2010, according to locals in Yala and Pattani provinces.” But they still use it for checking vehicles and roads for bombs….
That doesn’t help the unfortunate ones who are locked up for alleged crimes resulting in part from magic wanding.