Further updated: Madness, murder and lese majeste

14 05 2012

Prachatai has reported on yet another allegation of lese majeste, which must rank among the most bizarre. As readers will see, this new complaint is up there with the Royal Health Rumor 4, the rumored charge many years ago against a minor royal who named his dogs Sirikit and Bhumibol, and the lese majeste delirium of Laksana Kornsin who brought a complaint against whole executive committee of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand.

On 11 May, Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, the head of a Phetburi national park filed a lese majeste complaint with police targeting National Human Rights Commissioner Niran Pithakwatchara and members of the NHRC subcommittee on the rights of ethnic minority groups and migrants.Chaiwat showed up to make his complaint with some 100 supporters, including park officials, in tow.

National Human Rights Commissioner Niran Phithakwatchara and members of an NHRC subcommittee have been accused of lèse majesté by the head of Kaeng Krachan National Park after they intervened in a project, which the park claims was implemented in honour of the King.

Park officials have been “in conflict with Karen communities who have lived in the forest area in the national park near the Thailand-Burma border.” These people have long been persecuted by the park officials who evict them and allegedly burnt down their houses.

When these people complained to the NHRC,

Niran and the NHRC subcommittee … had intervened in projects, implemented by the National Park, to cut down forest vines and grow plants to feed wild elephants and other wildlife in honour of the King. The subcommittee had resolved to order the National Park to cancel the projects and review its plan to expand the park in preparation for declaring it a world heritage site and to allow the participation of local and indigenous people for the protection of their rights.

To reasonable people, this might appear to make sense. But apparently Chaiwat got upset and has now

accused the NHRC members of, among others, supporting the destruction of forest reserves in the National Park and lèse majesté by ordering the project to be cancelled, thereby not respecting the King’s and Queen’s addresses to government officials to protect watershed areas and to prevent illegal logging in the province.

PPT guesses that the lese majeste had to get to this level, with every utterance, sensible or otherwise, becomes a license for all kinds of madness.

And Prachatai adds an interesting and important note. Chaiwat is on bail, granted by a court in Oct 2011,  implicated in the murder of Phetchaburi local activist and one-time Puea Thai candidate Thatkamon Ob-om. Thatkamon:

was shot dead in his home province on 10 Sept 2011. He had been active in helping the Karen people who were evicted, and as a result had been officially banned from entering the National Park for causing unrest and impeding development for the minority communities.

No doubt the Democrat Party, ASTV/Manager and various ultra-royalist groups will be supporting Chaiwat.

Update 1: A reader complains that we have made Chaiwat appear a “wacko.” That was not our intention. Rather, this case suggests the capacity for the nut cases as well as the downright nasty – like the military command and officials like Chaiwat – to cloak anything with the protection of lese majeste and monarchy. Of course, there is nothing new there as several political massacres have been conducted in the name of protecting the monarchy.

Update 2: Siam Voices has a useful account of this story.


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