Burning down the monarchy I

6 03 2021

When PPT read the early accounts of the police hunt for Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan, 32, aka Ammy the Bottom Blues, we were suspicious. It was claimed he torched a portrait of the king. First he was arrested, then he wasn’t, and then he was again.

Then the cops claimed they had both “forensic evidence and eyewitness accounts [to] implicate a pro-democracy activist [Ammy] in the torching of a large portrait of … the King last week…”. “Forensic” could mean anything, but “eyewitnesses”? Really? Bangkok police commander Maj. Gen. Phukphong Phongpetra declared: “We have witness testimony as well as forensic evidence pointing to him, not just security camera footage.” That’s sounds implausible.

Phukpong also said that Ammy was “receiving treatment for unspecified injuries at the Police Hospital; investigators said Chaiamorn suffered a fall after he climbed up to burn King Rama X’s portrait.” Police “released CCTV footage of the incident to the media, allegedly showing Chaiamorn driving his car to the prison at about 3am on Sunday, just before the portrait went up in flame.”

Then Ammy released a statement “confessing to the burning of a portrait of the King in front of Khlong Prem Central Prison on February 28.” He stated: “The burning down the King’s portrait was my doing and I want to solely take responsibility for it alone and it has nothing to do with any movement or any demand…”.

Soon, tens of thousands of “tweets using #StandWithAmmy … [were] used on social media to discuss the case and the charges of lese-majeste which have accompanied the incident.”

Clipped from Khaosod

Ammy went on:

“When I was arrested on Oct 13 last year, Penguin [activist Parit Chiwarak] was the first to telephone me when I was in the police van and called for a rally… But this time, Penguin and my brothers and sisters have been in jail for more than 20 days now, but I have not been able to help them. I feel ashamed and disappointed with myself,” the singer wrote in his post, which his lawyer confirmed was authentic.

He is confessing in solidarity with his friends and fellow activists.

Of course, the Criminal Court denied a bail request. One of the usual justifications was used: “the singer posed a flight risk.”

PPT wonders if burning the king’s portrait might become a way of opposing neo-traditionalism and military fascism.



2 responses

6 03 2021
9 03 2021
Concocting “victory” | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Patiwat Saraiyaem who have already been held for about three weeks without bail on similar charges. Also banged up on 112 charges is Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan, aka Ammy the Bottom […]

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