Monkey threats

24 07 2016

As the search for referendum saboteurs deepens, a troop of terrorist monkeys is in trouble with the military junta.

Of course, for the military junta, ranting about saboteurs and hunting for alleged saboteurs has a purpose; it spreads fear and deepens self-censorship.

It is Sunday… The latest referendum vandals are a troop of 100 pig-tailed macaques raided the open hall of Wat Hat Mun Krabue temple in Muang district of Pichit Province.

The dissident primates targeted the hall, entered with intent, and tore up lists of voters on Sunday morning.

Macaques

The monkeys, not previously recognized as politicized, are known to be dangerous. It is believed that The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha is considering the use of Article 44 to suppress them. Troop leaders are being “invited” to the Pichit Army headquarters for “re-education” with ISOC’s trainers from Chiang Mai being brought in.

Villagers who witnessed the the raid were shocked as red bummed apes descended on the voters lists and voting instructions. by the time they dispersed, they left behind scraps of torn papers.

Apparently the threatening political primates responsible for the damage live in the bushes around the temple.

Pol Lt Col Banchob Uthayo, an investigator of Tambon Yanyao police station, reported the incident to his superiors and to the provincial election committee.

Arrests can be expected as the junta seeks to repress all opponents.





Comparing junta charters

24 07 2016

We have been provided with a document that compares the military’s 2007 charter, which passed a military managed referendum, with the draft charter the current junta has devised and is putting to a referendum that it has dominated, limited and arranged. We thought readers might find it useful. Constitution of Thailand 2016 draft vs. 2007 adopted downloads as a PDF.





German reporting on the prince’s new villa

23 07 2016

German newspapers have had several stories on Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. Here’s another, again shakily translated using Google Translate. It is from Süddeutsche Zeitung:

Thai Royal Family

The Crown Prince of Tutzing

Villa

The “Villa Stolberg” on the main road in Tutzing: This could soon be the Thai Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s. Still workers here – and the toilets in the foreground is a bit disturbing of the stately ambience.

Peter Maffay gets a new neighbor: Thailand’s billionaire and controversial royal heir Vajiralongkorn has bought a villa on Lake Starnberg leading to some surprise – including his outfit.

Von Christian Deussing und Martin Zips

The Thai Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn loves Bayern and seems to find Lake Starnberg particularly appealing. In the former fishing village of Tutzing the 63-year-old Prince bought the stately Grade II listed “Villa Stolberg” on the main road. High hedges keep the park-like property from prying eyes. This enchanting area is 5600 square meters, has mature trees and direct access to the lake with private dock.

According to reports, Vajiralongkorn is said to have paid a Tutzinger family twelve million euros for its new headquarters – his fortune is estimated at several billion euros. The villa is located in a good neighborhood of the homes of musicians Peter Maffay and Leslie Mandoki (Genghis Khan).

Three marriages, seven children

In the Kingdom of Thailand the assessment of the lifestyle of the Crown Prince (three marriages, seven children) is quite skeptical. The situation in the country, which saw the military coup of 22 May 2014 and has had martial law for some time, is affected by uncertainty about who his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88 will have as a successor. Already in 1972 Vajiralongkorn had been designated as successor. However, more popular support is likely for his younger sister Sirindhorn, 61, who, a respected historian [sic.] who is involved in the country in numerous social projects. However, she has no children, which some interpret as a disadvantage for the throne. Public discussion is difficult as the lèsemajesté law provides for prison sentences of up to 15 years for criticism of the Thai royal family.

In Tutzing, its new “citizens” include his 32-year-old woman Suthida (a former stewardess), a little son and dog Foo Foo [sic.]. Tutzinger broker Andreas Botas remember a call from the Thai Embassy in Berlin. At that time it had been called, a “businessman” have interest in a large estate on the southeastern shore of Lake Starnberg.

The interested party – as it turned out, the crown prince – pulled up in a white Porsche. He was dressed in  fashionable jeans with tears and was wearing a midriff-baring T-shirt and a black leather jacket, Botas recalls: “He was very pleasant and not at all pretentious.” Accompanying him were 20 people in eight minibuses: bodyguards, employees, women. In the end, the crown prince had then opted for the waterfront land in the 9500-resident community Tutzing.

His wife Suthida so watched by the German media, recently lived in Munich. The crown prince himself had been repeatedly observed in Bayern “strawberry pickers” or “visiting garden centers”.

Fireplaces, stoves and a library

The Villa Stolberg has a living area of 1400 square meters [sic.] and at least 15 rooms. In one 1994 advertisement it had fireplaces, stoves and a library for ambiance. The purchaser could make a country guesthouse, a private clinic, a museum or a beauty farm….

Now there is a scaffold in front of the house, which was built in 1926, with craftsmen at work inside. In front of the gate at the entrance is a Dixi toilet. The activities have not escaped even Tutzings Mayor Rudolf Krug. “I assume that the Prince ignored the conditions for the preservation,” says Krug. The town hall boss is pleased with the prominent new residents in the municipality, which will however not financially benefit from it. “I do not think that his income is taxed by us,” says Krug. In July 2011, the Crown Prince was a Boeing at Munich Airport once briefly been impounded 737 – for many millions of euros owed by Thailand a German company for the construction of a motorway.

The father of Vajiralongkorn, King Bhumibol had said in 2005: “If one says that the king can not be criticized, that would mean that the king is not human.” This had as yet formulated any of his predecessors. Tutzings Mayor explained the influx of the crown prince anyway so that the reputation of his community have something of an “open-minded and tolerant” to Thailand. The acid test for the site but is still to come – should take his caravan on the main street of the Crown Prince for the first time. Perhaps on July 28? Then the prince‘s birthday.





With 3 updates: Is this man really to be king of Thailand?

23 07 2016

BILD in Germany has again published its quite stunning photographs of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn in Munich. Apparently this new story is prompted by the military junta’s claims that the photographs are “doctored.” We reproduce the new story as a Google Translate version, with the bold print being from the original German version. We understand this is a shaky translation:

Tattooed prince

Prince of swank

Is this man really to be King of Thailand?

These photos have brought us to the royal astonishment.

On Thursday we saw the Thai prince who is not yet king at Munich Airport. Should he really be king?

Yes!

Because the Thai government continues to take every effort to protect the reputation of Vajiralongkorn (63), to protect, and does not shy away from police actions and false statements. 

BILD published on Thursday reader-reporter photos that show the prince’s back and arm extensively tattooed and the crown prince in a midriff top, baggy jeans, and sandals at Munich Airport.

This article was shared by British journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall on Facebook. Marshall (who cannot enter Thailand since 2011) is considered a major critic of Thailand, the monarchy and the lese majeste laws that provide for prison sentences of up to 15 years for the smallest offenses.

The Facebook post by Marshall saw his wife, a Thai, Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp having trouble yesterday.

Bunluesilp was with her son (3) to visit home in Bangkok. The police stormed the house where she was, confiscated a computer and detained Bunluesilp. After several hours of interrogation, she was set free again.

The Thai police are now claiming in an official statement that said pictures are fakes. In addition, it was suggested, journalist Marshall was possibly the author of the forgery.

These allegations are untrue.

A spokeswoman for the Axel Springer SE clarifies: “BILD has verified the authenticity of the photos. The reader-reporter is not Andrew MacGregor Marshall.

Update 1: The pictures of the prince are parts of two posts at New Mandala, one by Paul Handley and the other by Christine Gray. Both worth reading in the context of the Bild stories. The comments are interesting on the Handley post as there is debate on the authenticity of the photos and the details of tattooing.

Update 2: With another picture of the prince with tattoos emerging, the talk on social media is that the tattoos are transfers. For this possibility, see any of the manufacturer’s websites, such as this one.

Update 3: In another post at New Mandala, academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun has an interesting post seeking to unravel some of the questions about the prince and his excursions to Germany.





Media censorship

23 07 2016

As we noted in our previous post, we noted that the Bangkok Post wrote that the military junta had decided to “allow debates on the draft constitution in all provinces ahead of the Aug 7 referendum, bowing to pressure for calls for open talks.”

It seems unlikely that the junta has bowed to anyone. Rather, the junta’s plans are to force through a Yes vote by all means necessary and then claim legitimacy. This involves carefully delimited “debate” including only trusted participants while ruthlessly suppressing opposition voices.

The most recent examples of blocking discussion and debate include banning the distribution of the most recent print edition of The Economist for a long story on the monarchy and politics. (As we understand it, the online version of the story remains available in Thailand.)

A second example is the 30-day closure of Peace TV. The ban by the Communication Authority of Thailand is for “allegedly disseminating content threatening national security.”

The closure is reportedly based on “three TV programmes which allegedly carried content that breached NCPO [junta] Announcements No. 97/2014 and 103/2014, which prohibit dissemination of content that instigates violence and misleads the public.”

Because Thailand is a military dictatorship, the authorities had no need to disclose what content was chosen by them (or, rather, the junta) as somehow threatening the nebulous concept of “national security.”

We assume that “national security” is defined minimally as anything the military junta doesn’t like. In any case, this is no more than a ruse to close the station as the country moves to vote in an illegitimate referendum on the military’s draft charter.

The blackout of the red shirt-aligned Peace TV began at one minute past midnight on 22 July.

Jatuporn Promphan of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship “said that the station will sue the CAT for 6.3 million baht as compensation…” and “petitioned the Administrative Court to hold an urgent hearing to provide the station with legal immunity.”

Jatuporn also explained that:

the junta has made various attempts to shut down Peace TV since the station became a public space for those who oppose the junta-sponsored draft charter, further adding that the blackout will intensify dissatisfaction against the junta itself. He also rejected the allegation that Peace TV disseminated content threatening national security and condemned the junta for abuse of power….

In fact, the move by the junta is not an abuse of power as much as a demonstration of its basic nature. This is how dictatorial regimes behave.





Threatening children I

22 07 2016

The news from Thailand today has been depressingly bizarre. Earlier in the day, the Bangkok Post seemed to indicate that the military junta had blinked. The junta had apparently decided to “allow debates on the draft constitution in all provinces ahead of the Aug 7 referendum, bowing to pressure for calls for open talks.”

At the same time, elements of the junta seem to have gone berserk in their political repression. We have posted on the dictatorship’s lese majeste attacks on Patnaree Chankij and Noppawan Bunluesilp.

Most bizarre, however, is the demented decision to to “file charges against two 8-year-old schoolgirls who tore a voter registration list because they wanted its pink paper.” We posted on this case earlier.

Two 8-year-old girls collecting some pretty paper hardly seem like  threat to anything. But the junta’s minions at the ridiculous Election Commission have demanded their prosecution along with an apparently deranged police chief, Pol. Maj. Gen. Damrong Phetphong. The latter declared “he told the local election commissioner to file a complaint because the children had destroyed commission property.”

The crazy cop has been pushing for some kind of “example” to be made of the threatening youngsters He thundered:

There is no such thing excessive enforcement of the law…. The law has different punishments for adults, children and drunk people.We follow regulations. The judge will be the one who decides.

Meanwhile, the local “elections chief Suraphong Thanasangnuchit said he worried about being accused of dereliction of duty for not filing a criminal complaint against the little girls.”

Amazingly, these two girls are to be “further interrogated” as the police seek to establish “criminal intent.” Thailand, a global laughing stock, has witnessed the Grade 2 students fingerprinted “and criminal records run.” This despite the fact that they are too young to be responsible.

We can only imagine that the two 8-year-olds are extremely threatening for the military junta. The threat real is that the junta is demented and deranged and is getting madder by the moment.





Patnaree charged

22 07 2016

In our post on the detention of Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp, the wife of critic Andrew MacGregor Marshall, we mentioned that this looked like another hostage taking by the junta.

The other hostage is Patnaree Chankij, mother of of student activist Sirawith Seritiwat of the New Democracy Movement who was accused of a new interpretation of lese majeste deeming silence-cum-one-word a crime.

Police had decided not to prosecute the case. However, it was noted that military prosecutors were looking at the case. Khaosod now reports that the military have “indicted [the] 39-year-old woman on a charge of royal defamation charge, despite a recent recommendation by police the case be dropped.” The decision means Patnaree  will be tried by a military court.








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