It’s still a military regime IV

3 06 2020

Just a couple of recent examples of the way the junta still operates in the post-junta regime.

First, it continues to work with its friends among other authoritarian states. Thai Enquirer reports that an application to Thai police for a small gathering outside the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok was rejected. The application was “for ten people to hold a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the [Tiananmen massacre] crackdown on June 4…”. The application “was rejected by the police who said that there were concerns about the possible spread of coronavirus.”

That sounds remarkably like Hong Kong and it is not the first time the police have used the virus for political repression.

Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, one of the event organizers, was bemused: “The police also told me that they had previous discussions with the Chinese embassy about holding the protest and decided to reject my application…”.

Do the Thai police now come under the authority of the Chinese? Probably not. It is more likely that the junta/post-junta military bosses have told the police how to behave.

Second, we note the fate of a military whistle blower. Sgt. Narongchai Intharakawi, an ordnance corps clerk, who spoke out about corruption in the army has been threatened but vowed to continue speaking. The Army claims he has fled his position., declaring him a “deserter.” Sgt Narongchai said he was prepared “to face any legal repercussions for his actions.”

The Army has gone after him. It has “accused [him] of deserting his post … after he left his unit to lodge a complaint against an alleged fraud in the allowance money. The army soon launched an investigation whether Sgt. Narongchai broke any regulations…”.

This came just days after the above video went viral, showing Maj. Gen. Apichart Artsantia “reprimanding a soldier [Narongchai] who spoke out about alleged corruption in the ranks.”

Maj. Gen. Apichart harangues Sgt. Narongchai Intharakawi, telling him “to stop drawing public attention to the scandal and urged him to respect the unity within the armed forces.” He threatens:

You may be able to get away this time, but there’s no next time for you…. Don’t think like a civilian. Reporting this and that will only get you in trouble. If you want to succeed in your career, then adapt to it. I have given you one last chance. I’m disappointed because you destroyed the reputation of our unit.

Despite the fact that an “army-led inquiry committee has found substantial evidence to support Narongchai’s accusations,” the bosses are set to damage Sgt Narongchai.

Recall that it was only in February, following the Korat massacre, that Army boss Gen Apirat Kongsompong promised to clean up corruption in his forces. Nothing has changed.



One response

7 06 2020
Corrupt army thugs II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] a few days ago, we posted on the fate of military whistle blower Sgt Narongchai Intharakawi, an ordnance corps clerk, who […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: