Jakrapob’s lese majeste case proceeds

24 03 2010

The Nation and the Bangkok Post both report that the prosecution case against Jakrapob Penkair is proceeding. Odd, isin’t it, how these political cases seem to proceed when the Abhisit Vejjajiva government is under pressure.

The Nation (23 March 2010) says that the “prosecution review has completed on the lese majeste case involving former PM’s Office minister but the decision whether to try him will rest on Attorney General Julasing Wasansing….”.

Is is reported that the “case against Jakrapob is complete and the attorney general will likely issue his prosecution order after a final review by the government-appointed panel in charge of lese majeste indictment…”.

Prosecutors had “finalised their report based on initial and additional testimonies given to police, the English trancript of Jakrapob’s remarks [at the FCCT]  and its Thai translation, Jakrapob’s defence statement and his writ countering the police report.”

The story concludes with this odd statement: :After the Songkran mayhem last year, he fled the country and became a suspect fugitive.”

Royalists complain, offer advice, launch websites

7 02 2010


PPT has kind of thought that the royalists would be pretty happy with the Democrat Party-led coalition they maneuvered into power with the help of the military a year ago. While the government hasn’t dealt a death blow to Thaksin Shinawatra and the red shirts, in terms of being royalist, the Abhisit Vejjajiva government would seem to have done the right things.


The government has jailed critics on lese majeste and Computer Crimes charges, blocked tens of thousands of critical website, had millions brought out to demonstrate “loyalty” and “love” in various ways, and it has spent millions if not billions on royal propaganda and other royal things.


But it seems this may not be sufficient. The Bangkok Post (7 February 2010) reports that Privy councilor Air Chief Marshal Kamthon Sindhavananda has said that the Abhisit government appeared to be “on the defensive” when it came to preventing insults against the monarchy. Kamthon complained that the government was way to slow in responding to attacks and insults aimed at the monarchy.


PPT foolishly imagined that the palace might have been grateful that the government seems to have shifted the bad press regarding lese majeste off the front pages of newspapers. Apparently not. It seems the old guys at the privy council want even more people locked up.


When asked about Kamthon’s comment yesterday, Abhisit looked uncomfortable, but said he would listen to the honorable one’s advice and he “pledged to improve mechanisms to safeguard the royal institution. The premier reaffirmed that “protecting the monarchy is the government’s top priority.


It seems that the privy councilor may not be happy with Abhisit’s new “committee charged with providing advice on lese majeste cases to make sure the monarchy is not embroiled in politics.


In the same report, there is a photo of gleeful banned politician Newin Chidchob displaying his great love for the monarchy by launching the Bhum Jai Thai Party’s king lover’s website. Newin said the website will give Thais another channel to express their love and allegiance to the King.One of hundreds. Expecting challenges, Newin said that his “website staff will continually monitor and filter out messages posted on the website that are deemed inappropriate.


The site is actually a mess, so maybe he should have had someone update the website before “launching” it. But that isn’t really the point as Newin simply wants to be seen as a staunch royalist.


In a related Bangkok Post (7 February 2010) story Privy Council president General Prem Tinsulanonda is reported to have made a speech at Rangsit University (where there are strong royal, yellow shirt and Democrat Party connections) calling for “good” leaders.


Taking a leaf out of Jakrapob Penkair’s 29 August 2007 speech to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT), Prem claims that “nepotism, cronyism and the patronage system are key factors in making Thai leaders ignore justice and the rule of law.


Jakkrapob said essentially the same thing, and got charged with lese majeste because he linked the system to the current monarch and his flunkies, including Prem.


The Post states: “Without identifying any leader, Gen Prem said that forms of relationships in Thai society – relatives, friends, and those who do someone favours – are key factors in shaping the mindset of Thai leaders.” Of course, a monarchy is a prime example of nepotism and everyone knows that an “in” with the palace is exceptionally powerful, so maybe Prem is living in a very large and well-appointed glass house.


Prem’s solution is to look to the military – what a thing to say when coup rumors are everywhere! The old general disparages politicians when he says: “many people have volunteered to be leaders but they lacked the charisma needed to lead people.” Prem urges a search for “charismatic [barami] leaders to work for the good of the country.


Prem seems to support Abhisit when he states: that “good leaders [must] be able to differentiate between the good and the bad and uphold justice. They must have moral integrity and must make sure their colleagues also maintain those standards.” That’s exactly the image Abhisit tries to portray.


And, of course, leaders “must be loyal to His Majesty the King and act in the best interests of the country.” Good old-fashioned Thai-style democracy, repacked from the late 1950s.


Regular readers may remember that about a week ago PPT said that, as the political heat rose we could expect more noise from the palace. It seems to have begun in earnest.



FCCT complainant Laksana Kornsin faces an outstanding warrant

17 07 2009

PPT has reported several times (the latest here) on Laksana Kornsin’s (ลักษณา กรณ์ศิลป) outrageous lese majeste accusations against the FCCT.

Bangkok Pundit now reports that Laksana herself faces an outstanding arrest warrant dated 21 May 2008. It is apparently related to allegedly false accusations she made against the Asian Institute of Technology and a professor there.

It seems she may be a serial false complainant.

Royalist news round-up

9 07 2009

PPT has to again admit that it is having difficulty keeping up with the current spate of royalist news and actions. Today we summarize just a few of the reports.

Royalist gone wild

A few days ago we reported (here and here) on the extraordinary allegations made by of lèse majesté made against the entire executive board of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) by Laksana Kornsin (ลักษณา กรณ์ศิลป). Now, the same person has decided to go even further.

Ms. Laksana is clearly wanting to etch her name in the annals of political lèse majesté.  According to a report at Prachatai (9 July 2009: “Press release by Luksna Kornsilpa”), she has sent out a press release plus an article in Thai and English to the media making even more allegations of lèse majesté. Not only is she gunning for Thaksin Shinawatra and UDD leaders, she is now including police and the state attorney, claiming malfeasance, and all of those who will sign the petition to the king for Thaksin’s pardon (see more below).

It is quite possible that Ms. Laksana is just an angry and crazy royalist. However, her actions have not been, as far as we can tell, denounced by anyone in the government or by any other royalist. And, her actions fit the current pattern of royalist fear that they have been unable to roll back support for Thaksin since the coup and since the Democrat Party was maneuvered into power.

To give PPT readers a flavour of the bizarre nature of Laksana’s allegations and of the quite ludicrous laws in Thailand that allow such madness, we cite one part of the translated press release: “In addition to the charges under article 112 of Thai Criminal Law further charges are to be filed this day against Thaksin Shinawatra, Jakrapob Penkhair, Veera Musikapong, Nattawoot Saikuea, Jatuporn Prompan, Marwaan Macan-Makar, Jonathan Head, other FCCT directors and UDD members that are implicated in crimes against the nation. Criminal Code articles 107, 113, 114, 116, 133, 135/1, 210, 213, 215, 217, 220, 288 and 289 are all used and each of the accused will have at least 2 or more of the aforementioned articles filed against them. Instant action is demanded as the cases expose a co-ordinated gang of conspirators committing acts of treason and concealment that not only threaten the Kingdom of Thailand and her national security but also insult Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain that she reigns (not rules). Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is protected by article 133 of Thai Criminal Law.”

PPT recalls when Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva preached reconciliation and the need to “reform” the lèse majesté law. Not only is Abhisit barely visible these days, but his words not only amounted to nothing at the time, and are now just a distant memory as the royalist-military clique seeks to keep political power.

Bangkok Post joins attacks on the UDD

The attacks on the UDD-red shirts for being anti-monarchy have reached a new crescendo since the Puea Thai Party election victories in Sakol Nakhon and Srisaket. Today the Bangkok Post (9 July 2009: “UDD out to upset protocol”) joined in.

In its editorial, the Post editorialist seems upset that UDD leaders seem “unrepentant, defiant and arrogant” in their failure to apologize for the Songkhran Uprising, and claims that these leaders “have now embarked on two provocative endeavours which raise a big question about their true motives.”

The Post editorialist explains that these two actions are the petition for a royal pardon for Thaksin Shinawatra and the plan to celebrate his 60th birthday at Sanam Luang. We have commented on the former here. In the editorial, the Post claims that Sanam Luang is a site of royal functions and implying that the UDD is somehow trespassing on royal prerogative.

In fact, the whole point of the editorial is to imply UDD disloyalty. Clearly, the royalists still feel that the monarchy is the best political card they can play against the resurgent red shirts and Thaksin.

Losing King Bhumibol

Bloomberg (8 July 2009: “Losing King Bhumibol Concerns Don’t Deter Faber Bet on Thailand”) has an interesting article that assessed, amongst other things, the future sans the present monarch. This is a long and detailed article and PPT recommends that readers take the time to review it.

As a footnote, the authors are William Mellor and Daniel Ten Kate. Mellor used to work for Sondhi Limthongkul prior to one of Sondhi’s earlier business collapses. One of the persons interviewed for the article is Uwe von Parpart, Hong Kong-based chief Asian economist at Cantor Fitzgerald Capital Markets Ltd., who also worked for Sondhi when the English-language version of the Manager monthly, prior to the 1997-98 economic meltdown. PPT is not implying bias, just noting the connections.

Sufficiency economy not understood

The Bangkok Post (9 July 2009: “Sufficiency economy: Message hard to get across”) reports that it is now four months since the Democrat Party-led government launched sufficiency economy projects. However, with one-third of its 21 billion baht budget (yes, that’s billion) expended, Sumit Champrasit, the director of the Sufficiency Economy Office for Community Development, reports that it is having trouble getting people to understand the concept. This is quite an admission of ideological failure with 25,000 projects having been funded.

Sumit laments that villagers applying to the fund seem to want to increase their incomes rather than take up the fundamental ideas of the king’s sufficiency economy concept. He says “Rural people started from things they lack, like roads and money to buy fertilizers. Very few people understand the [sufficiency economy] concept.

Fancy that! Wanting what you don’t have and not being content with rural poverty! Poor, misguided souls. Director Sumit, an engineer, has the solution. He wants to “fine-tune people’s understanding …”. More propaganda for villagers?

FCCT Charges Expand

2 07 2009

Lesè majesté charges in relation to speech at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand (FCCT) in 2007 have expanded to include the entire fifteen-person board of the organization.

According to Pravit Rojanaphruk’s article in the Nation (2 July 2009, “FCCT board faces police probe over lese majeste”), “Laksana Kornsilpa, 57, a translator and a critic of ousted and convicted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra filed a lese majeste complaint against the 13-member board at Lumpini police station on Tuesday night. Laksana was quoted on ASTV Manager website as claiming the board’s decision to sell DVD copies of Jakrapob Penkair’s controversial speech at the club back in 2007 constituted an act of lese majeste. She alleged that the whole board “may be acting in an organised fashion and the goal may be to undermine the credibility of the high institution of Thailand.””

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance and the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH) have issued statements condemning the charges.

PPT also directs your attention to the excellent collections of links and analysis at New Mandala (Nicholas Farrelly, 2 July 2009, “The lese majeste circus continues”) and Bangkok Pundit (1 July 2009, “Lese Majeste Complaint Against the FCCT”)

Perhaps, as one commenter on New Mandala suggests, “This escalation is necessary to push the LM circus into a full and revelatory crisis of absurdity and unsustainability.”  The question remains, however, at what cost? How many lives will be harmed, how much speech repressed, and how many people’s human rights will  be violated before the the crisis becomes revelatory?

More on lèse majesté at the FCCT

1 07 2009

Thanks to Bangkok Pundit for pointing us to a Manager Online story (1 July 2009: “แจ้งจับ “กรรมการ FCCT” ขายดีวีดี “จักรภพ” หมิ่นเบื้องสูง”) that refers to a case where “a Thai who loves the Institution” has brought a complaint to the police alleging lèse majesté against all 13 members of the committee of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand (FCCT).

The report claims that Miss Laksana Kornsin (ลักษณา กรณ์ศิลป) complained that the police must  proceed on the case against Jonathan Head and citing Jakrapob Penkair’s presentation at the FCCT on 29 August 2007  and the sale of DVD of that presentation as evidence that the FCCT is trying to bring the monarchy into disrepute and to threaten national security.

Presumably not just by chance, the Manager/Phujatkan has photos of the good Ms. Laksana presenting her complaint to the Lumpini police.

Jakrapob Penkair’s case again postponed

15 06 2009

The Bangkok Post’s Breaking News (15 June 2009, click here) reports that the prosecution has again deferred a decision whether to indict former PM’s office minister Jakrapob Penkair on a lesè majesté charge.

The director-general of the Criminal Litigation Department, Kaiyasit Pissawongprakan, said the prosecutors had not received results of an additional examination of the translation of Jakrapob’s speech to the FCCT on 29 August 2007 and additional witness testimony from the police.

No arrest warrant has been issued yet in this case.

A leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, Jakrapob fled the country after the Songkhran Uprising in April leaving behind charges of instigating violence at that time.

PTT readers might link to the short story and note the anti-Jakrapob construction of this rather short story.

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