Activists targeted

31 03 2016

Both Khaosod and Prachatai report that several activists have been summoned or arrested by the military in its “crackdown” on “influential persons.”

About three weeks ago, PPT stated that one of several reasons for worrying about a military “crackdown” was that the “dark influences” can be defined in political terms, and the military dictatorship will certainly use the “crackdown” to weaken political opponents.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reported that on “30 March 2016, military officers released Taweesak Inkwang, a key leader of a campaign against a waste-fired power plant in Chiang Rak Yai Subdistrict in the central province of Pathum Thani, after hours of discussion.”

That “discussion” was with “Lt Col Amnat Khamwiset, Commander of the 4th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division, informed him that his name appeared on the list of influential figures which had been sent to him from the 1st Army Division.”

(As we have long said, Thailand’s military is designed for internal suppression rather than defense. So it is that someone with supposed anti-aircraft “skills” is interrogating political activists.)

Amnat demanded that Taweesak “delete an image of the summons which Taweesak had posted on social media on 26 March, adding that his activities against the waste-fired power plant must remain within the framework of the law.”

Taweesak stated after his release: “The military officers said it did not involve the power plant case, but because I was an influential person dealing in an illegal business…”. He added: “I think the point [of summoning] is to use me as an example for others…”.

Military thugs also “detained Lamom Bunyong, a 65-year-old fisherman, and two other people from a fishing village in Mueang District of the eastern province of Rayong.” The summons “states that Lamom is on the list of influential figures of Rayong.” In fact, the reason for the summons is probably that “Lamom earlier filed a complaint to the NHRC over the eviction of a fishing community by the military and public administration officials.” Earlier, in 2014, “Lamom and other fishermen in Rayong also filed a lawsuit against PTT Global Chemical after they were affected by a petroleum leakage by the company in 2013.”

Lamon says: “I was confused. The influential figures are supposed to be very rich, to have millions of baht…. But now, just by working on an issue concerning the troubles of locals, I have now became the mafia.” He added: “Someone told them that I was going to form a mob to expel the district chief officer…. That’s why I was recognized as an ‘influential figure.’”


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