Another red shirt “disappeared”?

25 12 2018

Back in July 2017, Ko Tee or Wuthipong Kachathamakul disappeared in Laos. A red shirt and critic of the monarchy, Ko Tee didn’t just disappear. He was disappeared. That is, he was forcibly taken and has not been heard from since.

In a Human Rights Watch alert, his enforced disappearance was described:

On July 29, at approximately 9:45 p.m., a group of 10 armed men dressed in black and wearing black balaclavas assaulted Wuthipong, his wife, and a friend as they were about to enter Wuthipong’s house in Vientiane according to multiple witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch. The assailants hit them, shocked them with stun guns, tied their hands with plastic handcuffs, covered their eyes, and gagged their mouths. Wuthipong was then put in a car and driven away to an unknown location while his wife and his friend were left at the scene. According to Wuthipong’s wife and his friend, the assailants were speaking among themselves in Thai.

It was widely assumed that Ko Tee was disappeared by Thai forces under the orders of the military dictatorship and probably by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. Of course, nothing can be proved because the disappearance has never been investigated.

Khaosod reports a second disappearance. Surachai Danwattananusorn or Surachai Sae Dan, a radical red shirt and a vehement critic of the monarchy has reportedly gone missing in mysterious circumstances.

A former student activist who joined that Communist Party of Thailand in the 1970s, he was imprisoned in the 1980s. In the recent color-coded clashes, Surachai led the Red Siam faction of the red shirts. He was charged and eventually convicted on several lese majeste charges after being arrested by the Abhisit Vejjiva regime in 2011. Eventually, he was sentenced to 25 years on three convictions.

Ill and elderly – he would now be about 76 – Surachai was pardoned on 3 October 2013. We understand he moved to Laos around the time of the 2014 military coup. Not long after, ultra-royalists were making further lese majeste accusations against him.

Now he has “disappeared.”

Khaosod reports that his “friends and wife … said they fear he might have been disappeared after they lost contact with him for two weeks.” The report continues:

Romchalee Yammy Sinseubpol, a political exile in Laos said she and … friends went to check Surachai Danwattananusorn’s residen[ce] Monday morning – more than two weeks after they lost contact with him – and found no one. She said all doors had been left open and that some documents appeared to be missing.

She posted on Facebook saying the place appeared to have been searched. She and her friends fear that he may have been “forced to disappear.”

… In a related development, Surachai’s wife, Pranee Dawattanasunorn pleaded that her husband and two male aides be safely released.

“I could only plead those involved to let them go,” said Pranee, who lives in Nakhon Si Thammarat province and lost contact with Surachai since Dec. 10.

Deputy Dictator Prawit Wongsuwan reportedly stated:

“I don’t know where he is and why he has disappeared now after four years,” adding that he had contacted the Laotian authorities, who had told him they were unaware of Surachai’s whereabouts.

That was almost word-for-word what they said when Ko Tee was disappeared.

Elderly and suffering several ailments, Surachai is in serious danger.


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1 01 2019
Fears for Surachai | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] and human rights advocates remain deeply concerned about the fate of red shirt and anti-monarchist Surachai Danwattananusorn or Surachai Sae Dan who disappeared about two weeks ago from his home-in-exile, together with two […]

1 01 2019
Fears for Surachai | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] and human rights advocates remain deeply concerned about the fate of red shirt and anti-monarchist Surachai Danwattananusorn or Surachai Sae Dan who disappeared about two weeks ago from his home-in-exile, together with two […]

3 01 2019
Fears for Surachai I | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] and human rights advocates remain deeply concerned about the fate of red shirt and anti-monarchist Surachai Danwattananusorn or Surachai Sae Dan who disappeared about two weeks ago from his home-in-exile, together with two […]

3 01 2019
Fears for Surachai I | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] and human rights advocates remain deeply concerned about the fate of red shirt and anti-monarchist Surachai Danwattananusorn or Surachai Sae Dan who disappeared about two weeks ago from his home-in-exile, together with two […]




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