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.





Further updated: Critic’s wife detained

22 07 2016

In a self-censored report, Khaosod alerts the world that “[p]olice raided the Bangkok home of a well-known British author and monarchy critic’s Thai family Friday morning, taking away his wife, 3-year-old son and father-in-law along with computers and other materials…. The raid took place about 7am at the home of the parents of Noppawan Bunluesilp, the wife of former Reuters reporter Andrew MacGregor Marshall, author of a banned book critical of the monarchy, one day after he shared stories from foreign media on Facebook that were unflattering to a member of the royal family.”

The report states that “Marshall and his wife have not lived in Thailand since 2011, but she was visiting with their young son when the raid took place on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. Marshall continues to frequently post comments critical of the institution on social media.”

Twenty officers with a court-approved search warrant confiscated “a computer, iPad, Iphone, seven passports and other documents inside nine transparent sealed bags…”.

Noppawan, 3-year-old Charlie and Noppawan’s father were taken away by police.

Lawyer Weeranan Huadsri “said that as of noon, police had refused to let him speak to Noppawan, saying it was because she was not yet charged with any crime.” He added: “Police want to know if she sent some lese majeste content or pictures to her husband or not…”. Weeranan said “police were looking for anything on Noppawan’s computer, iPad or iPhone deemed defamatory to the royal family.”

This sounds like a fishing expedition, an act of desperation by the regime, and an attempt to gain another hostage.

Update 1: AMM has posted plenty, including a statement, on Facebook. There’s a live statement and this, written statement:

My wife Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp, 38, has worked as a journalist for Reuters and NBC. She is currently not working, and was visiting Bangkok with our son Charlie, who is 3. Ploy has never been involved in my journalism, I have always ensured that I work completely independently of her, both because of the risks and because she has her own views on Thai politics and does not share mine. There is no reason for police to detain her. If Thai police believe that I have broken Thai law they should seek my extradition to Thailand via legitimate international legal channels. It is unacceptable to harass an innocent woman simply because she is married to me.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post reports that Noppawan has been released. This may not be all good news because the regime appears agitated and angry. The reason for the detention today appears to relate to the Bild photos from yesterday: “The move followed Mr Marshall’s Facebook posts on Thursday showing the photos from and a link to a story related to the monarchy in a German tabloid…. On Friday morning the link to the page was blocked in Thailand for carrying ‘inappropriate content’. It was back online in the afternoon.”

Worryingly, it was also reported that “Pol Lt Gen Thitirat Nonghanpitak, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, said Mr Marshall had disseminated photos deemed insulting the institution for years and these shared photos were doctored.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Marshall has not published anything that we can recall that was not somewhere in the public record.

More worryingly, “Col Piyapong Klinphan, a junta spokesman, said the National Council for Peace and Order was looking into the case to find who else was implicated.” That people are harassed and threatened because of the junta and monarchy behaving badly or strangely is quite bizarre.





Can the Prince no longer afford shirt?

21 07 2016

We are indebted to Andrew MacGregor Marshall’s Facebook page for drawing attention to a curious Bild article from Germany. It is about Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and his current wife/girlfriend and a Thai International flight. We have translated using Google Translate and include only two of the pictures in the Bild story so the output might be a little off in places.

Readers will see odd images of the prince, apparently heavily tattooed, carrying a poodle and dressed in strange clothes.

Hi, Thai Thai!

Can the Thai-Prince no longer afford shirt?

Tattooed prince

At attention! The crew of the “Royal Thai Airways” Salutes Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and his mistress Suthida

Daring/risque appearance, Highness! Crop Top, eco-flops, poodle “Foo Foo” [long dead; its a new pooch] on the arm – so ended Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn (63) now with his Boeing 737 in Munich. 30 bodyguards with him and luggage.

What is the half-naked prince in Bavaria? Shopping! For ten million euros he bought the Grade II listed “Villa Stolberg” at Lake Starnberg. A gift for his mistress no. 1 Suthida (32)?

The former Thai Airways flight attendant, nicknamed “Nui”, lives in Munich.

Mansion

For around 10 million euros the Prince bought swank “Villa Stolberg”

Thailand’s Crown Prince in Bavaria as the swankiest Royal since Ludwig II († 1886), to the delight of luxury and service sectors. Half of the year he spends here, with shopping and celebrations. Even for his dog “Foo Foo” [see above] he has already given a legendary festival.

In Thailand, the Crown Prince (3 marriages, 7 children) is unpopular. But no word raised. The kingdom has one of the strictest lese majeste laws in the world (up to 15 years in prison!).

King Bhumibol (88) knows about the reputation of his (single) son. It is whispered that he will prevent Vajiralongkorn becoming king. Will it be the crown daughter Maha Chakri (61)? Then the swank-Prince has more time to squander money.

Tattooed prince 1

With poodle and midriff exposed, the Thai Royals get in the chauffeured Mercedes

According to “Forbes” is Bhumibol is worth about 35 billion euros, the richest Royal World. The dissolute life of son Vajiralongkorn is paid from the state coffers.





Too little, too late

21 07 2016

There are just 16 days before the junta’s referendum on the military’s draft charter. So far, the military junta has been insistent that there is no detailed discussion of their charter. More insistently, the junta has actively and nastily prevented campaigning for a No vote. Hundreds have been detained, arrested and threatened.VOTE NO

The Bangkok Post reports that a group of “members of political parties and civil society are intensifying calls for open talks on the draft constitution…”.

With only a couple of weeks left, this seems much too little and much too late.

Yes, they have done it before. They have been ignored by the regime. Again making the call for open discussion is unlikely to influence the junta and is likely to have the same negative outcome.

It is all very well for the so-called civil society group of 117 individuals and 16 organizations to issue a “five-point joint statement” that argues for “the need for all stakeholders to be allowed to debate the contents of the charter with comprehensive and thorough information and for them to have a safe public space to do so.”

Yet these groups remain locked within the logic of the junta’s illegitimate process. The military’s charter began in an illegal process, has been developed by the junta’s minions and acolytes, rejecting all public input and the referendum on a whole constitution, scores of pages long is both dozy and a ridiculous scam.

When they beg for “the constitution must safeguard human rights and civil liberties, allow for checks-and-balance mechanisms, and address reforms and the decentralisation of power,” they ignore the junta’s blatant disregard for and trashing of all these processes and principles. Requesting the wolf not to kill and eat the sheep is probably useless.

The same group “also demanded to know if there are any alternatives to the draft if it does not pass the referendum…. This is to facilitate a transition to democratic rule as specified in the road map and the [junta’s] interim constitution.”

Again, they are operating within the junta’s (il)logic.

In any case, hasn’t the junta already told the public what happens if there is a No vote? We read that chief junta minion Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam “said that if the majority of voters reject the draft charter in the referendum, then the interim charter would have to be amended.” That is to allow for “the drafting of another constitution or the drafting timeframe…”.

In other words, more of the same. More repression, more threats, more Article 44, more lese majeste, more junta.





Clods and clots II

20 07 2016

In our previous Clods and clots post, we mentioned a story the junta claiming dastardly plots by its political enemies. One plot was particularly nasty, claimed to be the “unprecedented” destruction of one list of voters for the charter referendum in one district in Kampaeng Phet Province. The junta order that the culprits be hunted down.

It turned out that a couple of 8-year-old girls were responsible.

One would imagine that the junta, its spokesperson and others involved would be suitably embarrassed. No such luck, with Khaosod reporting that the two little girls, who liked and wanted the pink-colored paper, have had to report to police and have signed “reports.”

8 yo

Statement signing. Pic clipped from Khaosod.

We had never considered 8-year-olds legally responsible, but this military junta is a strange regime.

More seriously, regional police commander Chanasit Wattanarangkul “ordered the local police chief removed from his post because he didn’t file urgently report the vandalism.”

Perhaps he thought a couple of minors didn’t constitute an imminent threat to the regime.

Local police officers investigated and “[t]he original police report concluded the girls ‘believed the the pink-colored paper was beautiful’ so they tore it off and kept it.” Sensibly, the “girls were released without charge.”

However, local “police station chief Itthi Chamnanmor didn’t file any report about the incident to his supervisor.” For this oversight, Itthi was “transferred him to an inactive post and placed him under disciplinary investigation.”

Apparently the only thing that embarrassed Commander Chanasit was that he had to “find out about the girls’ antics from the media” rather than from a police report.

The clot in this case is easily identifiable, and its not Itthi.





The Lady Kai case

20 07 2016

PPT posted a couple of weeks ago on the “Ying Kai” or Montra Yokrattanakan (“Monta” in some reports) case. She’s a “socialite,” who was reported as being investigated and then was jailed, accused of fraud, human trafficking and lese majeste.

As we updated our Pending cases pages to include Ying Kai, we noticed that the Thai Visa site has taken a particular interest in the case, and our page on the case includes most of the links to Thai Visa stories.

This is another odd lese majeste case, and those interested can follow the story, as it is reported, through these links.





Thai republicanism

19 07 2016

In a post at New Mandala, academic Patrick Jory writes of the history if Thai republicanism. Much that he mentions will be known to those who study Thailand’s modern history. However, by bringing this into a story about republican roots, its development and links to the present, Jory provides a useful and revealing account.

Republicanism itself has a long history in political philosophy and its political usage and understanding has changed over time.