During its time in power, the best data available, which is from iLaw, says that up to the end of November, the junta has summoned or “visited” 798 persons, many of them several times. It has arrested at least 501 and charged 56 with lese majeste and 27 with sedition. 152 have been before military courts.
PPT considers all of these to be underestimates as the military dictatorship does not need to provide information on its repression.
The junta has engaged in these targeted activities in order to frighten the population as a whole and to threaten critics, potential and real. It appears, however, that this was only phase 1 of the junta’s repressive rule.
The Bangkok Post reports that deputy premier General Prawit Wongsuwan, “in charge of security affairs” has stated that he has a list of “influential people” who have “the potential to cause trouble in the country.” He declared that “a crackdown on them is forthcoming.”
Usually, “influential people” refers to gangsters and the so-called dark influences or chao phor. However, it is clear that Prawit and the junta mean that they will target political opponents.
Prawit states that the “list of influential people was compiled over two months by police and defence intelligence units in cooperation with the Interior Ministry, on the instructions of the prime minister [he means The Dictator, Prayuth].”
He adds: “Anyone who is thinking about stirring up trouble in this country should abandon the idea…”.
Prawit “explained” that Prayuth “had been irritated by questions raised by posts on the social media or by reporters wanting to create new issues.” Saying that these irritating people must cease their activities, he declares: “It is now time for the NCPO and the government to work for what is ahead of us over the next five, 10, 15 or 20 years…”.
While some commentators see this declaration of phase 2 of the junta’s rule as referring to “criminals,” with The Nation declaring it to be akin to the War on Drugs of Thaksin Shinawatra’s period, and calls it “ludicrous,” PPT sees it as a declaration of a new phase in the the War on Red Shirts and others seen to oppose the junta.