Over the past week there has been a flurry of stories about lese majeste. PPT has posted on some of these stories about Thailand’s residual feudalism. In this post we focus on a clutch of news stories associated with Ko Tee or Wuthipong Kachathamakul ( โกตี๋ หรือ วุฒิพงศ์ กชธรรมคุณ).
The lese majeste junkies at the Democrat Party were fast out of the rat hole on Ko Tee’s case, using it in the best of the worst traditions of the Party, smearing all their political opponents. Party loudmouth/spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the party’s toady “leader” Abhisit Vejjajiva:
had assigned the party’s legal team to lodge complaints with caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order director Chalerm Yubamrung and Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdit to consider taking legal actions against Ko Tee for his controversial interview with the foreign media which were deemed lese majeste.
The party was also lodging “a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division police and to file lawsuits against Ko Tee with the police throughout the country.” Lodging the complaint nationwide is evidence that these hopeless and failed politicians haven’t had a new political idea since the 1940s. Shouting in the cinema, Chavanond bleated that:
Ko Tee’s conduct reflected the negative attitude of several red-shirt leaders and followers towards the Monarchy. Such attitude, he said, is a security threat that authorities concerned cannot just sit idly by but have to take actions to deal with it according to the law.
Abhisit has regularly sought to use the monarchy against political opponents.
The savageness of the attack on Ko Tee, in part, reflect the directness of his comments. It also reflects the fact that Ko Tee is radical in his politics, challenging not just the royalists but sometimes the official United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.Indeed, the official red shirts have been quick to dump Ko Tee, with Jatuporn Promphan – himself accused of lese majeste several times – disowning him. In the next report quoted below it is stated: “He has said that his group operates on its own and is not loyal to the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.”
Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha hates Ko Tee, and was once said to have set assassins in search of him.
Getting Ko Tee has considerable benefits for the royalists and their anti-democrat movement. At the Bangkok Post it is reported that the police have come under pressure to get him as quickly as possible.
National police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew met with army chief Prayuth and “other senior government and security leaders met at a project launch in the far South on Thursday. They agreed on the need to take action against Wuthipong Kachathamkul, alias Ko Tee, during sideline talks.” The event was some kind of Prem Tinsulanonda-initiated interference in the normal work of government. It was reported that “Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda. Gen Prem was not involved in the talks” on Ko Tee. No one believes that little lie.
The Post also reported another lese majeste case “involving Ekaphop Luera, also known as Tang Acheewa,” was discussed by the royalist military bosses.
Thailand’s politics in recent years has seen lese majeste cases spike when the royalists are in power or seeking to topple an elected government. This is clearly another of these situations. PPT’s guess is that the royalist elite is taking the opportunity to de-fang the more independent and threatening of red shirt leaders prior to the conclusion of the creeping judicial coup.
It is reported that: “Pol Gen Adul promised he would take serious action against the two and direct immigration authorities across the country to watch out in case they try to flee the country.” Apparently an arrest warrant is out for Ekaphop, who is “believed to have already fled the country.”
The Democrat Party demanded that Prayuth “go after Ko Tee.” The irony of this is that “Democrat deputy spokeswoman Malika Boonmeetrakul insisted in an interview with the radio programme that security authorities could arrest lese majeste suspects…”.
Of course, it was Mallika who criticized a princess for being an indulgent waste of taxpayer money just a few days ago, but nobody amongst the double standard-toting royalists is going after her because she thought she was criticizing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Faithful royalists can drag the monarchy through the political dirt with impunity because they are somehow “protecting the institution.” The political battle is about shoring up the political and economic system that has the monarchy as its keystone, so the monarchy can be used by the royalist side for its political purposes without a peep of complaint from the palace.
According to the report, Ko Tee’s “whereabouts are unknown.” The dopey Democrat Party claims Ko Tee is “under protection of a two-star police officer.”
The Post then makes this remarkable claim: “Ko Tee is also accused of leading red-shirt members in a bloody clash with People’s Democratic Reform Committee members at Lak Si intersection on the eve of the Feb 2 election.” What is the newspaper’s point? Ko Tee did indeed lead red shirts on that day, but it was the anti-democrats who opened fire and were responsible for the bloodshed. The Post appears to being politically biased in the most base manner.
In another report at the Bangkok Post, police are said to have “approved an arrest warrant for the red-shirt hardman on charges of lese majeste.” They reckon he is still in the country. The court that quickly approved the warrant – probably the same one that has repeatedly rejected warrants for royalist anti-democrats – claimed “it had thoroughly considered the evidence submitted by the Crime Suppression Division…”. The police reckon they have a “substantial case…”. In most lese majeste cases, the evidence usually doesn’t matter in the slightest, so all this huffing and puffing is for political impact.
The interview with Ko Tee was widely circulated, causing the government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order to renew “a warning to the public that anyone distributing or forwarding the video would face criminal charges.” They mean people circulating or “liking” the interview can end up in jail on lese majeste charges for 15 years.
The anti-democrat monk Buddha Issara got in on the lese majeste sycophancy by holding a “rally at Kukot police station and offered a cash reward of 500,000 baht for anybody who could arrest or locate the suspect.”
In yet another of many reports at the Bangkok Post, Army chief Prayuth “confirmed that army intelligence is assisting in the search for the suspect.” Remember when Prayuth claimed that it was not the Army’s job to arrest Suthep Thaugsuban for “treason.” It seems that the double standards run exceptionally deep.
Prayuth acknowledged that “it would be difficult to arrest Mr Wutthipong if he had left Thailand. He said lese majeste offenders usually flee to other countries which view lese majeste as a domestic matter.” Other crimes are domestic too. What the general might have said is that other countries view lese majeste not just as domestic but as a bizarre feudal leftover that is taken seriously pretty much only in Thailand.
Extending the reign of lese majeste terror, Prayuth added that the “army was also in the process of filing complaints with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology against radio stations and radio hosts who offend the monarchy.”
PPT looks behind this action, and sees that this lese majeste repression is just another part of the attempt to crush parliamentary and representative politics, just as much as herding the anti-democrats onto the streets was. Watch what the courts do next.
Update: Readers may be interested in Asia Provocateur’s take on these events:
This Thai fascist bloc, who’ve murdered and killed Thai citizens with complete impunity, are notorious for perceiving words to be more dangerous than bullets. The Democrats can order troops to slaughter unarmed Thai civilians and rationalise this as “necessary”. The Thai Army can carry out that slaughter and claim, with a straight face, that it was nothing to do with them. The PDRC have repeatedly tortured, kidnapped and even murdered pro-democracy activists yet their leaders are never held to account or even properly investigated.