Lese majeste and vigilantism

23 04 2014

Saksith Saiyasombuthas a useful and chilling blog post on this topic, spanning the vigilantes of the extreme right and the two most recent lese majeste cases against Wuthipong Kachathamakul or Ko Tee and Rose Amornpat, to the vicious assassination of anti-lese majeste activist Kamol Duangphasuk or Maineung K. Kunthee.

On lese majeste vigilantism, Saksith makes this good point:

Pro-monarchist vigilantism online is not a new phenomenon in Thailand – at one point in recent history it was even state-sponsored. Those accused of being critical of the monarchy have often been the target of cyber witch hunts. Victims of such attacks have often have their personal details and contact information disclosed in public.

For PPT, this new group of so-called rubbish collectors, which is both an online group and active in the real sphere, represents an unleashing of extremist repression that is armed and murderous, as in the 1973-76 period. We say more about this group in an upcoming post.

Further updated: Lese majeste extremism

23 04 2014

As Thailand’s Consul-General in Sydney slammed the International Conference on Thai Studies for its panel on succession, news of an apparent lese majeste assassination became available.

The consul-general stated: “The Thai monarchy will remain a unifying pillar … No matter what you may believe…”.

Meanwhile, as extremism has expanded in Thailand, a devastating report has been attributed to AP, sent to us by a reader:

Police in Thailand’s capital say a pro-government activist who opposed a law punishing critics of the monarchy has been shot dead.

Police Col. Thanawat Watthanakul says Kamol Duangphasuk was shot by unidentified gunmen Wednesday in a restaurant parking lot in northern Bangkok. The victim, a poet also known as Mainueng Kor Khuntee, was a member of the Red Shirt political movement….

While there was no immediate indication of who committed the slaying, Mainueng was known as an active opponent of Thailand’s lese majeste law, which carries severe punishment against anyone who defames or insults the country’s monarchy. A vigilante group recently threatened to hunt down people perceived as opposing the monarchy.

The coincidence of this reported assassination and the unleashing of lese majeste extremists is telling.

Update 1: Posted by Ji Ungpakorn:

Royalist Scum Are Responsible For The Brutal Murder of Mai-Nueng Goontee

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

“Mai-Nueng Goontee” or Kamol Duangpasuk was a radical Red Shirt poet. Today he was gunned down in cold blood by assassins as he left a Bangkok restaurant.

Mai-Nueng opposed the military coup in 2006 and had been active in the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement ever since. Unlike the Pua Thai government and the mainstream UDD leadership of the Red Shirts, he also took a principled stand against the draconian lèse-majesté law. Lèse-majesté has been used by the military and the conservatives to imprison and exile many pro-democracy activists. Mai-Nueng was also a tireless campaigner for the release of Thailand’s political prisoners. His poems were hard-hitting and upset the establishment.

In recent days right-wing royalist extremists had set up what they called the “Rubbish Collection Organisation” to deal with people who oppose the royalists, the military and the conservative ruling elites. They are responsible for their first death. They have blood on their hands.

Others with blood on their hands include all those who have systematically supported the destruction of democracy and supported the use of lèse-majesté. This includes the military, the judiciary, the establishment politicians, the right-wing academics and the yellow shirted NGO leaders.

This is a grim day for Thai democracy. While the fanatics hunt down people who dare to criticise the elites, accusing them of lèse-majesté, those who commit violence on the streets against pro-democracy activists continue to enjoy impunity.

Update 2: An obituary for Kamol Duangphasuk is available in English.