Still missing

5 11 2022

Last Monday the family and friends of Siam Theerawut “gathered to celebrate what would have been the 37th birthday” of the activist if he had not gone “missing” in May 2019.

Charged with lese majeste and “accused of being a leading member of the Thai Federation,” Siam fled Thailand after the 2014 military coup.

He was “reportedly arrested in Vietnam and extradited to Bangkok along with 2 other Thai activists in exile, Chucheep ‘Uncle Sanam Luang’ Chiwasut and Kritsana Tubthai. They have not been heard from since.

The report states:

Siam’s family continue to search for him, but investigation has been slow. In June 2021, Siam’s mother Kanya Theerawut and his sister Saranya Theerawut went to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), along with Sitanun Satsaksit, whose brother Wanchalearm Satsaksit went missing while in exile in Cambodia, and their legal assistance team from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and the Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF). However, they were told that there was no progress in the investigation into his disappearance.

In March 2022, Kanya said she was visited by two men, possibly plainclothes police, while she was home along with her 7-year-old granddaughter. The two men asked Kanya if Siam had come home and asked to enter the house without presenting IDs or a warrant, but Kanya refused, telling them that they need to bring a search warrant and that she would need to search them before they come inside the house to make sure they did not bring anything illegal with them.

The two men did not go inside the house, but asked to take a photo of Kanya, claiming they have been ordered to do so by their superiors. Kanya let them take a photo of her, and she also took photos of them and their vehicle.

On 4 April 2022, Kanya, Sitanun, and Sitanun’s lawyer Montana Duangprapa met with a representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) to ask the UNOHCHR to follow up with the Thai authorities on the investigations into the disappearances of Wanchalearm and Siam. They also called attention to charges filed against citizens for political expression and the harassment of members of Siam’s family and asked for updates on the process of adding Wanchalearm and Siam to list of victims of enforced disappearance of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID).

Many, including PPT, assume that Siam was taken by royalists/officials/military/regime/palace and/or a combination of these.





Enforced disappearance continuing

26 10 2022

Where is Wanchalearm? Clipped from Prachatai

Enforced disappearances were one of the stimulii for the calls for reform that were so loud in 2020.

The regime has refused to comment on the disappeared and has denied any involvement, whilst neglecting and obstructing investigations. Almost everyone assumes that the regime and the military have been involved in these disappearances and murders.

Some assume that the monarchy is involved, observing that almost all of those who were disappeared were associated with anti-monarchism.

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

At the Bangkok Post, Asmadee Bueheng, who is “the communication officer at The Patani, a political action group that advocates right to self-determination for the people of this Malay-speaking region,” has an important op-ed.

It tells the sad story of Yahree Dueloh. He was identified by Thai security forces as an active member of the Barisan Revolusi National (BRN) and suffered “relentless harassment.” It is added that “[i]n a recent statement issued on Oct 18, BRN confirmed that Yahree was their operative.”

His story includes being “kept incommunicado for 35 days under the controversial Emergency Law that permits detention without legal representation.” He fled a decade ago to Malaysia.

But on 27 September, “Yahree went missing from his home in Rantau Panjang.”

As has been seen in other cases of the enforced disappearance of regime opponents, “his bloated body was found on the banks of the Kolok River on the Thai side of the border.”

Asmadee reports that Yahree “was found in clothing that nobody recognised. The bruises around his neck and the wounds on his face suggested that he might have been choked or strangled …[and there were] scars found on Yahree’ calves…”.

But, an “autopsy carried out by Sungai Kolok Hospital in Narathiwat dated on Oct 10 said Yahree died from drowning. The report surprisingly made no reference to the glaring bruises around neck and the scars on his body.”

There are suggestions that “shady security officials on both sides of the border cooperated to abduct suspected BRN members…”. Such co-operation has also been apparent in enforced disappearances of regime critics in Laos and Cambodia.

Calls to investigate Yahree’s death will be ignored or will be limited to the usual buffalo manure “investigation.”





Nine-year 112 sentence

22 10 2022

Clipped from Prachatai

Based on Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reporting, Prachatai has an account of the quite bizarre case of Pakpinya (last name withheld), 31, a  hospital librarian, singer, and model living in Bangkok.

Bizarre is the right term for the whole “case,” cobbled together on yet another complaint by ultra-royalist vigilante Pasit Chanhuaton. He has filed Article 112 complaints against at least eight people with the police in Sungai Kolok.

On 19 October 2022, a court in Narathiwat sentenced Pakpinya “to 9 years in prison on charges of royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act for sharing Facebook posts about the use of violence to disperse pro-democracy protesters in 2020 and the public being prohibited from using Sanam Luang.”

Phasit searched for and identified six posts he attributed to claiming they constituted lese majeste. He claimed these shared posts were from Facebook pages belonging to activist groups.

Some of these posts criticized police crowd control when they used water cannon against protesters, He claimed that Pakpinya “added a caption saying that people would be able to enter if they wear a yellow shirt.”

The royally deranged Pasit also accused her of sharing a post from คนไทยยูเค claiming that the king ordered the use of violence against protesters. He alleged that she also shared a post critical of the royal use of Sanam Luang while the people were locked out.

Three other posts were about enforced disappearances and the regime’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccine production.

TLHR point out that while the police did little investigation and Pasit lied, the court still founf Pakpinya guilty in three of the six instances.

Pasit said:

… he has never met Pakpinya, but insisted that she is the owner of the Facebook profile he filed a complaint against.

During cross-examination, Phasit claimed that he was not involved with the royalist group Citizens’ Network to Protect the Monarchy, even though he stated when he filed his complaint that he was a member. He also claimed not to know who the group’s leaders or members were, and that he knew that the network has been filing royal defamation complaint against people in various provinces, but did not know where.

Phasit said that he took screen captures of the posts from his mobile phone and did not print them out from Facebook, so there was no URL for each post, and that he adjusted the size of each picture before putting them into Microsoft Word and printing them out.

The police apparently didn’t investigate any of Pasit’s claims or his “evidence.” For instance:

Pol Maj Natee Chansaengsri, an inquiry officer at Su-ngai Kolok Provincial Police Station, also testified that he did not ask to see Phasit’s mobile phone, or for the original files of the photos he printed out. The police also did not confiscate Phasit’s mobile phone and laptop, so he could not confirm whether the content used to file the complaint matched with what is on the Facebook profile.

He also said during cross-examination that it was not possible to determine the IP Address that uses the profile, and that identity could not be determined from a YouTube account. He admitted that it is possible for Facebook accounts to share names and that he does not know if information on Facebook can be changed by another person.

After the verdict, Pakpinya was later granted bail with a 200,000-baht security. She said: “I want to know how twisted the Thai justice system can be…”.

The answer is very twisted indeed.





Payback time

3 02 2022

Thailand’s military-backed regime has teamed up with authoritarians in neighboring countries for “security” operations. These have seen black ops that resulted in the disappearance, torture and/or murder of several anti-monarchy activists in Cambodia and Laos.

Such operations have a quid pro quo. Thailand has already returned several Cambodian activists for imprisonment by the Hun Sen regime. And now Laos is enjoying Thailand’s payback.

Khaosod recently reported that the  International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) had “expressed concerns about the safety of a Laotian asylum seeker who was arrested in Bangkok…”. It stated that “Keomanivong Khoukham, a member of pro-democracy Free Lao group, was apprehended despite the fact that he holds a UNHCR card…”.

FIDH reminded the world that “[t]his is not the first time they do it…. When fellow activist Od Sayavong disappeared in August 2019, the Thai police spokesman said he didn’t know about it, even though a missing person report had been filed at a local police station in Bangkok days earlier.”

That sounds like the story of Wanchalerm Satsaksit’s enforced disappearance in Cambodia. His case remains unresolved and the silence from both governments is deafening.

Where is Wanchalearm? Clipped from Prachatai

At least Thailand’s police “acknowledged the arrest, which was made on Saturday [29 January]…”. They claim he was arrested for overstaying his visa. They also say he was not carrying a UNHCR card, although media outlets produced numerous images of it.

Khaosod explains:

Since Thailand is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, asylum seekers are considered as illegal immigrants by the Thai authorities. They are subjected to arrests and deportation back to the countries they tried to escape.

Convenient.

Thai Newsroom followed up and cites Sunai Phasuk of Human Rights Watch, who said the Lao activist “faces punishment should he return to Laos.”

Sunai also mentioned that the Thai government has deported refugees many times. The latest was the deportation of a Cambodian refugee late November with this leading to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issuing a statement expressing disappointment for again doing so.

UNHCR has several times requested/urged the Thia authorities “to refrain from deporting recognized refugees and to abide by its international obligations, particularly the principle of non-refoulement.”





Further updated: Buffalo manure human rights

8 11 2021

The Thai Enquirer reports that the military-backed regime, headed by a coup plotter as unelected prime minister has made the absurd claim that “Thailand is ready to commit to promoting and protecting human rights in the country and abroad…”.

This regime, constructed on the military murder of scores of protesters in 2010, on the bodies located and still missing of those forcibly disappeared, and which has detained and jailed thousands, made this outrageous claim “ahead of the UN’s upcoming Third Cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR)…”.

Ratchada Thanadirek, the regime’s deputy spokeswoman lied: “The government is committed to working with the international community to voluntarily declare its commitments, consider feedback and listen to proposals…”.

How high?

Ratchada built a pile of stinking buffalo poo, saying the “current administration is working to revise its laws to match the international human rights instruments, including anti-torture law, laws against inhumane punishments, and laws that protect against enforced disappearance.”

These are all crimes that this regime has engaged in, regularly. It is a false claim, it is a gross untruth. It is made as it continues to lock up protesters and jail people under Article 112, a draconian law that “protects” the monarchy from criticism and scrutiny and permits the jailing of political dissidents.

As the article explains:

The statement comes at a time when the Thai government is being criticized at home and abroad for its arbitrary arrest and detention of pro-democracy protesters.

Over a dozen student protesters have been arrested and denied bail for leading street protests against the Prayut Chan-ocha administration and calling for reform of Thailand’s conservative institutions.

Films, art exhibitions, and even nationally recognized artists have been punished and/or censored by the government for speaking in support of the demonstrators or on political issues….

The Prayut administration has implemented a Covid-related state of emergency protocol that bans large-scale gatherings. This emergency act has been used to detain, arrest, and crack down on unarmed protesters.

Built on murders, lies, deceit, rigged laws and elections, and repression, this is a corrupt regime.

Update 1: For something far more realistic and factual, try the CIVICUS and the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) call for UN member states to raise serious concerns about Thailand’s civic freedoms.

Diplomats in training

Update 2: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been a useful tool for the regime. Populated by royalists, for decades it has polished royal posteriors, often with amazing contortions that make its people look like pretzels. The latest official contortionist is Nadhavathna Krishnamra, a Foreign Ministry representative speaking to the UN Human Rights Council.

Facing questions from Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, among others, about those charged with lese majeste, including more than a dozen children, Nadhavathna defended lese majeste. It was asserted that the law “protects the monarch and therefore national security, and that royal insult cases were carefully handled.” Everyone knows this is buffalo manure. Nadhavathna trotted out more of the regime’s buffalo poo: “It reflects the culture and history of Thailand, where the monarchy is one of the main pillars of the nation, highly revered by the majority of Thai people…. Its existence is closely linked to safeguarding the key national institutions and national security.” Blah, blah, blah excrement.





Updated: Problematic courts

22 10 2021

The courts have long demonstrated double standards and this has been especially the case for the Constitutional Court. That court’s latest decision is another example of its politicization.

On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court ruled “that Paiboon Nititawan, a former MP of the dissolved People Reform Party … retains his parliamentary status, on the grounds that he has not violated any provisions of the Constitution, as claimed by opposition MPs.”

Rightist Paiboon dissolved his party immediately after the rigged 2019 election and teamed up with his political buddies in the junta-formed Palang Pracharat Party. As Thai PBS has it:

The court took note that the People Reform Party resolved to dissolve on August 5th, 2019 and notified the registrar of political parties. This was followed by an announcement from the Election Commission on September 6th of the dissolution, published in the Royal Gazette.

Paiboon, according to the court, joined Palang Pracharat on September 9th, 2019 and the House of Representatives was notified by its leader on October 7th of the same year.

The court also ruled that Paiboon, in his capacity as the leader of People Reform Party, was legally bound to undertake the liquidation process to legally dissolve his party.

On the issue of “Paiboon’s obligation to the People’s Reform Party, post-dissolution, [which] was referred to the Constitutional Court by Parliament Speaker Chuan Leekpai,” the court “ruled that Mr Paiboon’s MP status was not affected by the issue and so remained intact on account of the legal dissolution of the People’s Reform Party.”

The long and the short of this is that opposition parties get dissolved on precious little evidence and on skimpy grounds, while a regime fellow traveler can stand for election in one mini-party, ditch the party and its “members,” and can get a free pass to transfer even when he was a party-list member for the dissolved party.

Of course, this provides an avenue for small parties to now merge with the regime party, something likely required for the next election. The court has paved the way.

Compare the brazen political favoritism of the Constitutional Court and the nastiness and political bias of other courts:

  • Yet more anti-democrats are let off. Sure, one copped jail, but that means nothing as those who violently blocked voters get a free pass.
  • Sitanan Satsaksit, sister of Wanchalearm Satsaksit, who was abducted and disappeared in Cambodia, and who, for obvious reasons, has had no information, support, or anything else from the regime that knows what happened, has been “charged for allegedly hosting an activity in breach of Covid curbs.” More buffalo manure charges to silence and threaten critics.
  • Young protesters continue to rot in jail, refused bail.
  • Penguin “Parit” Chiwarak now faces 21 lese majeste charges (and more to come). He’s held without bail.
  • The Bangkok South Criminal Court on Thursday ruled that Benja Apan, a Thammasat third-year student charged with lese majeste, cannot have bail.

See a pattern? It is contemporary authoritarianism.

Update: For more on the third rejection of Benja’s bail, see Prachatai.





Police vs. the people

17 10 2021

The regime’s political “strategy” for controlling anti-government and monarchy reform movements involves repression and arrests, with the latter involving jail time.

Police Maj Gen Jirasan Kaewsangek, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, recently stated that “since July 2020, 683 anti-government protests have been held in Bangkok, and 366 of the cases are still under investigation.” Independent sources have the figure topping 800. Not a few of them are children.

Many scores of these protesters are being kept in detention.

The regime couples these mass arrests with targeted harassment of those they think are leaders. Thai Enquirer reports that the most recent student leader to face “a flurry of legal charges for his political activism” is Hudsawat ‘Bike’ Rattanakachen, 22, a critic studying political science at Ubon Ratchathani University. He is “facing multiple charges from the police including the violation of the Emergency Situations Act and violation of the Communicable Disease Act.”

He says: “I think the government charged me because they want to slow down the pace of our movement and make things more difficult…”.

The impact for him and others facing charges is that become entangled in time-consuming legal actions and responses.

He went on to explain that the regime “is raising the bar when it comes to suppressing regional movements like his in Ubon Ratchathani. He fears the authorities are increasing their level of surveillance.”

Academic Titipol Phakdeewanich “agrees that the state is exercising a dangerous campaign of legal harassment, one that clearly violates the rights of students.” He added that “there are a significant number of cases like this where ordinary people, villagers, rural people, people defined by the government as opposition, have told me stories that they’ve been monitored or followed as well…”.

Titipol observes that the regime “hang these cases over them indefinitely as a way to control students…”.

Hudsawat explains the sad fact that “we live in a society where the process of law or justice in Thailand is not normal,” adding, “anyone can be accused of having a different opinion from the government’s and then it’s decided that they pose a security threat to the state.”

Another facing charges is Sitanun Satsaksit, the sister of missing activist in exile Wanchalearm Satsaksit. She’s now “charged with violation of the Emergency Decree for giving a speech at a protest on 5 September 2021 at the Asoke Intersection.”

She’s one of a dozen now “charged with violation of the Emergency Decree for participating in the same protest…”. Her case is tragic:

Sitanun said that she feels hopeless that not only are the Thai authorities not helping her find her brother and bring the perpetrators to justice, they are also trying to silence her by filing charges against her, even though she is fighting for the rights of her brother and other victims of enforced disappearance.

She adds:

Is it such a threat to national security that I join the campaign for the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance bill that you have to file charges to silence a victim? I am just calling for justice for someone in my family, but the government sees me as an enemy….

The regime protects the monarchy and its own position for fear that even individual protesters can bring the whole corrupt system down. Both police and military are now little more than the regime’s political police. THe enemies are the people, democracy, and proposer representation.





Reflecting the regime III

30 08 2021

Paritta Wangkiat is a Bangkok Post columnist and has an op-ed on the murderous cop.

Describing the murder of a suspect as an “outrage,” she refers to the “torturing and killing [of] a drug suspect … [in] custody,” as a crime that “would have disappeared unless a grisly video clip of the deed was exposed on social media.” She adds: “The public would never have known, nor would legal action have been taken against this group of rogue policemen.”

One of the subordinate policemen, Pol LCpl Pawikorn Khammarew, “was quoted by his adoptive mother as telling reporters that he must strictly follow the former superintendent’s orders.” He said: “If you are there, there is nothing much you can do but follow orders…”. If he refused, he would have been punished.

All of this sounded sadly familiar.

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

We recall the disappeared, the tortured and the murdered. The circumstances may be different, but the crimes of the authorities are the same. In the current case, senior cops have been silent and have encouraged the murderous cop. It is as if the victims don’t count. We see the same in the cases of monarchy critics who are disappeared, tortured and murdered.

The Bangkok Post reports on suggestions of a cover-up, aided and abetted by senior police. Because there’s no video evidence, the state’s murderers in other cases are unnamed and silent. But they all serve the same masters.

The regime of “good people” is rotten to the core.





Updated: Reflecting the regime II

27 08 2021

Continuing with our posts about  things that define the regime’s royalist Thailand, there have been several reports in the last few days that do just that.

The Thai Enquirer’s Cod Satrusayang responded to the release of a video showing a senior police officer suffocating an alleged drug dealer while demanding a large bribe.

Of course, the video went viral, with an investigation launched. But there was a here-we-go-again feeling. We’ve been here before. We’ve seen and heard it before. And there was cynical resignation as many on social media predicted another cover-up. As Cod says, “we should be more surprised and shocked at the footage rather than nod along grimly.

After all, police and military enjoy impunity and the levels of corruption are legendary. Just think of the Red Bull hit-and-run case, the Korat killings, the Saudi Blue Diamond saga, the 2010 murder of red shirts, the forced disappearing and murder of numerous political figures, the shooting of Chaiyapoom Pasae, the Tak Bai deaths, and we could go on and on.

Cod puts it this way: The time has come to ask whether officers like this murderer is the exception or the rule.” He adds: Given the reality of things and given how endemic corruption is within the police force maybe the time has come to consider not just reforming the police but dissolving the force altogether.”

AP adds on this story, detailing the crimes. Police Col Thitisant “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari” who was caught on camera suffocating a man to death. It was Joe who tortured Jeerapong Thanapat, a 24-year-old drug suspect, attempting to extort two million baht from him. Like Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, Joe is on the lam.

It isn’t just murderous police who define the “good people” regime, but this regime is defined by failed/compromised institutions.

The police are hopeless, with allegations of police brutality and corruption common. The video was leaked to lawyer Sittha Biabangkerd who “received a complaint from a junior policeman in Nakhon Sawan…”. That policeman reported the usual cover-up:

When the suspect died, Thitisan allegedly ordered his men to take the body to the hospital and tell the doctor the death was caused by a drug overdose. The junior policeman said the woman was released but told not to say anything about it, and that Thitisan paid the victim’s father to remain silent.

The Bangkok Post reported that the “junior police officer … sought … help in forwarding the clip to the national police chief.” More revealingly, that junior officer and his fellow officers feared they would be killed!

The Royal Thai Police is a failed institution, operating more as a criminal gang than a police force.

But what about the rest of the bureaucracy which abet the police (or fear them)?

The “state-run Sawanpracharak Hospital, which issued a death certificate for the dead drug suspect, have defended their finding that ‘methamphetamine poisoning’ was the cause of death.” This after a “forensic examination.” Police told was “a private hospital that the man fell down and lost consciousness while he was running away from police who were chasing him during a drug crackdown.” Corruption? You bet.

How big is the corruption? Huge. Found at Pol Col Thitisan’s 60-million-baht house in Bangkok were 29 luxury cars worth more than 100 million baht. It is impossible that this great wealth could have been missed by anti-corruption agencies. After all, Ferrari Joe boasted about it on social media.

But, the hopeless NACC is now on the job, belatedly “probing the unusual wealth of Pol Col Thitisan…”.

A police source said Pol Col Thitisan wasn’t this rich from the beginning but he has built his own wealth out of some grey area businesses including trading edible bird’s nests while he was a deputy sub-division chief at Narcotics Suppression Division 4, overseeing drug suppression operations in the South.

The photos below are from the Bangkok Post, showing just some of Joe’s assets.

The story continues:

He later moved on to making money out of suppressing the smuggling of luxury cars and supercars in the South. He earned a lot of money from rewards offered for seizing such cars — 45% of the value of the car confiscated — and handing them over the Customs Department for resale through an auction….

Not bad for a cop earning less than 50,000 baht a month. But no one should bat an eyelid, for there are dozens of army generals, navy admirals, air force air marshals, and police generals who have declared unusual wealth to the NACC, and it has done nothing, zilch. That was in 2014.

So there’s a range of corrupt institutions. The NACC is at the pinnacle, rejecting any number of cases against the regime.

Thai Enquirer points out the obvious:

Somehow the Office of the Inspector General, the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) keeps missing these high-earning cops and generals.

Do we trust these organizations to investigate the case further? See if this is part of something bigger? Doubt it.

The NACC repeats is compromised inaction again and again. As The Nation reports, it can’t “reveal Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam’s assets…” despite being “asked by the Official Information Commission to reveal what assets had been declared by Prayut and Wissanu when they took office.” According to Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, NACC president, “the commission can only store information and investigate if there are any discrepancies, but cannot reveal details.”

But what about all those generals? Nothing. What about the fabulous wealth of convicted drug dealer/deputy minister Thammanat Prompao? Nothing.

Of course, “nothing” protects the “good people.”

And another related story. why is it that cabinet “approved the proposal by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to amend the prime minister’s order regarding the procurement of antigen test kits (ATK) by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO)…”.

That order “stipulated that the antigen test kit the GPO would purchase must be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by the Thailand Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

That’s now ditched so that Chinese kits can be purchased from Beijing-based Lepu Medical Technology. That contract is for about 600 million baht for kits “banned in the United States due to a high risk of false results.”

The regime is rotten to the core.

Update: The murdering cop story gets worse by the day by the actions of the most senior police. Those bosses are appointed by the regime because of their political positions and based on links to powerbrokers, including the palace.

Joe Ferrari has been taken into custody. As usual, he was not tracked down, but negotiated a surrender to police in one of the most corrupt jurisdictions, Cholburi.

Startingly, national police chief Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk, himself worth almost 105 million baht, then gave the murderer a national stage. In allowing the suspect to speak to the nation via national television, Gen Suwat appeared to support Pol Col Thitisan when he “said social media had been reporting that Thitisant was trying to extort the dead drug dealer so he wanted people ‘to hear what happened from the mouth of the person who had committed the crime’.”

Parts of Thitisant’s speech to the nation is reported in the linked post.

What was Gen Suwat thinking? Cod Satrusayang provides something of an answer, suggesting that Thailand is “an alternative Nazi-inspired universe”:

You see Joe Ferrari is one of the good people. Despite murdering an alleged drug dealer in cold blood, with a plastic bag, while his men held the guy down, he is a good person. Never mind that this is the kind of scene you’d expect to see in a Nazi movie, Joe is a good person.

You see Joe is a good person because he is a “relentless crime fighter,” because he volunteers with royalists, because he is polite and clean cut. He is a good person.

He is not a bad person like the unruly protesters who do not know their place, who dare to question the establishment.

He adds, that the contrast with anti-monarchy/pro-democracy protester Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak:

I was in the newsroom when police arrested Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak in the middle of the night, put him in an unmarked van, and sent him to a police station in the suburbs for processing.

There was no press conference, there was no fanfare, it was the Thai deep state working efficiently to suppress, gag, and detain those that would question the current establishment.

It was chilling, frustrating, Kafkaesque.

It made me question how I ever bought into the land of smiles lie, that Thailand’s paternal autocracy was built to work for and protect its people.

The regime is loathsome, rotten to the core, festering, bloated, and putrescent.





Trampling remaining freedoms IV

10 08 2021

PPT is late getting to this story and we thank a reader for bringing it to our attention.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International issued a statement about the regime’s police issuing fines to “an Amnesty International staff member, along with three speakers and a panel moderator, for taking part in a panel discussion on 4 July focusing on the enforced disappearances of Thai activists, including Wanchalearm Satsaksit…”.

The police managed to conjure charges “under the Road Traffic Act and the Act on the Maintenance of Cleanliness and Order,” and under the Control Act B.E. 2493 for the use of an amplified speaker to advertise the event. The police issued “an administrative fine in response to their involvement at an in-person panel discussion on 4 July…”.

The other four who were fined were “a panel moderator and three other panelist speakers: a protestor, an 18-year-old student, and a lawyer who was friends with an individual who was forcibly disappeared.”

As Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Yamini Mishra put it:

Our member of staff was simply doing her job to raise awareness in Thailand of international human rights law. The Thai authorities should not be fining her, the organizers or other panelists for simply speaking about the Thai authorities’ human rights obligations and the long history of enforced disappearances in this region….

Human rights defenders play a crucial role in protecting freedoms within society. To intimidate and fine them represents a threat not only to these activists but to anyone seeking to bravely defend the rights of others.

Amnesty International argues that the fines are a part of “ongoing efforts by the Thai authorities to silence criticism and repress freedom of expression.” It added: “The Thai authorities must stop issuing fines to people for peacefully exercising their human rights, and stop using the pandemic as an excuse to ramp up their repression.”








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