The online community has been buzzing recently with the discovery ancient wreckage buried on Ban Thai beach. Some guess that it’s a World War II warship; some say it’s a ship’s mast, and some think it’s a chimney of a ship’s boiler. However, everyone agrees on one thing, and that is they want the authorities […]
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22 May 2015
25 June 2015
Khaosod English: Three people have reportedly been arrested for their suspected connection to a brief pro-democracy demonstration in front of the United States Consulate in northern Thailand today.
Around ten masked activists gathered in front of the US Consulate in Chiang Mai province this afternoon and held signs pledging their support for human rights, democracy, and non-violence.
The consulate was presumably chosen as the location for the rally because of the US government’s criticism of the 2014 May coup and the junta’s ongoing suppression of civil rights.Read more...
The Thai Military Court sent an anti-junta transgender student activist to face sexual harassment in male prison before releasing her.
According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), on Monday noon, 29 June 2015, the staff judge advocate of the Military court of Bangkok indicted Natchacha Kongudom, a well known transgender anti-junta student activist and Tatchapong Kaedum, her fellow activist.
The two were indicted for breaking the Thai junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Order No. 3/2015, an order which gives military officers full power to maintain national security, for participating in a gathering to commemorate the 2014 coup d’état in downtown Bangkok on 22 May.
After the indictment, the military court sent the two to Bangkok Remand Prison before granting bail under 10,000 Baht surety to the anti-junta activists and released them.
For Natchacha, however, the court sent her to face sexual harassments in the male compound of Bangkok Remand Prison before the release despite the fact that she has already had a sexual reassignment operation.
Natchacha, an anti-junta student activist, in front of Bangkok’s Military Court on 29 June 2015 (courtesy of TLHR)
Natchacha said that she felt extremely uncomfortable while she had to undergo physical examination in the male prison compound whose staff were all male.
She added that she felt sexually harassed by the prison staffs who performed the examination on her while she was forced to reveal her body during the examination and by other male inmates who verbally harassed her.
Prior to being sent to Bangkok Remand Prison, Natchacha asked the military court to send her to female prison instead because she is a transwoman. However, the court lifted the request, saying that in accordance to the law the suspect is still ‘male’ and there is no law, which stipulates that transwomen are female in Thailand.
According to the Coalition on Democracy and SOGIE Rights (CDSR), the court’s decision is against the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which states that the dignity and rights of LGBT shall be protected under custody.
“In cases which LGBT persons are under detention, the detained must be protected under custody in accordance to their sexual and gender identifications and that in any circumstance transwomen should not face physical examination performed by male prison staffs,” CDSR wrote in it’s statement.
On 24 June, Natchacha was arrested while she was hospitalised by security officers in plainclothes and brought to the Pathumwan Police Station in central Bangkok for interrogation together with the 14 anti-junta student activists, who are now under custody.
In December 2014, two men who were thought to be military officers in plainclothes assigned to follow her threaten her with rape at the human rights event.
The story of embattled human rights activist Sombat Boonngam-anong, aka Nuling or the Polka Dot Editor, is now reaching the international media. Currently being persecuted by the Thai state in what has become an absolute military dictatorship due to General Prayut invoking Section 44 of the Interim Charter, Sombat is facing approximately five charges, including the possibility of lèse majesté (Section 112).
General Prayut himself has hypothesized that Sombat’s latest venture, selling rice, is politically motivated, with the assumption appearing to be that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is funding his venture. An obsession with a plot is characteristic of this government due to its (hopefully unintentional) fascist tendencies, as explained here. However, it should be pointed out that Sombat used to host TV shows on the Peace TV channel, which used to be the UDD Channel, which was connected to Thaksin.
But, how is the concept of selling rice in itself subversive? What Sombat is doing is buying rice direct from farmers, bagging it in a small operation under the Polka Dot brand, and then selling it. What appears to be so rebellious is buying rice at 15,000 baht per ton, as under the Yingluck rice scheme of a guaranteed minimum price, and then running a form of social enterprise which cuts out the middle men, i.e., the rice mills and the bureaucracy (Ministry of Agriculture etc.) and selling direct to customers.
At the same time, bag deliverers are being paid 15 baht per bag above the going wage. The above-market price combined with an above-market delivery per bag payment are the two aspects of the venture which make it a social enterprise, therefore falling into the same category as the Doi Kham brand founded by His Majesty the King, rather than pure capitalism.
Colonel Sansern Keawkamnerd, the NCPO’s spokesman, has suggested Polka Dot Rice buy all the rice from all the farmers and therefore take over the management of the country’s main agricultural product. This appears to be an attempt at ridicule. But, why shouldn’t all Thailand’s rice be sold as a social enterprise using direct-to-customer marketing?
There are two main groups who may be not particularly happy with this idea. The first is the rice millers and silos owners, who have their own associations and have traditionally served as middle men. They are mainly ethnic Sino-Thais who had few opportunities when Thailand was still called Siam to find employment other than in state-mandated occupations, including rice trading. However, there would still be a need for their services – except that instead of the government paying for them to mill and store rice, the farmers’ associations would do it.
The other group which may be unhappy with this idea would be corrupt officials who make money from monitoring, supervising, and adding red tape to each movement and transaction involving the rice. However, is that not one of the problems that the dictatorship is trying to solve?
But, what about the fact that farmers’ associations are not market experts? The answer is for the farmers’ associations to hire domestic and international rice traders who know what they are doing. In other words, the workers hire the management instead of the management hiring the workers.
Gradually, you have a completely new economic model. Traditionally, at the bottom of the food chain are the farmers, the poorest ones being mainly Thai Lao people farming marginal land affected by all sorts of problems such as salination and over-use of pesticides. In this model, supply is dictated by the state. But, if the farmers operate cooperatively and democratically elect the leaders of their farmers associations - which many already do - who then directly buy in experts to manage the interface with buyers ranging from individuals to companies, thereby cutting out the state, you have the basis of economic democracy.
Some may state that this sounds like communism. However, it is not. A communist state would, via a central bureaucracy, dictate supply, manipulate demand and direct by committee all economic operations via a single party. The fact that the Thai state already controls the supply of rice is, in fact, an aspect of socialism - the command economy - which has sometimes been borrowed by forms of authoritarian government, particularly in developing countries. But, Thailand’s economy overall also has a large private sector, which is why it is a hybrid economy. And, introducing economic democracy in one sector will not change Thailand’s model from being a hybrid one overnight.
The role that Sombat has created for himself as a social entrepreneur is along the right lines. However, he is still essentially a manager hiring staff. And, the thinking is too small, which is why Colonel Sansern Keawkamnerd’s suggestion for Sombat to think bigger is, in fact, an excellent one. Obviously, there is no quick fix for Thailand’s rice problems. The agricultural sector poses socio-political and ethnic questions of concern to all Thais. But, the Colonel should advise General Prayut to start the process towards economic democracy via disintermediation – cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy – immediately.
The farmers and their representative associations should then directly hire talented people like Sombat to put together a management team in order to negotiate what bureaucracy remains and create a business plan. Then, the associations’ hired management, now responsible to the associations, who become the Board of Directors, function as an executive. This executive obtains loans from organizations such as the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and forges business partnerships. Through this process, the farmers’ associations can supervise the milling, storing, marketing and then selling of their rice, potentially via online platforms for mass sales such as alibaba.
Mistakes will be made, managers will be fired, and things will go wrong. So yes, it may need some regulation, and it should definitely involve independent auditing and state insurance against disasters. But at this stage in the game, there is nothing to lose from the military supporting an approach which allows farmers to take control of their own lives and futures.Read more...
Human rights lawyers condemned the Thai police for hasty arrest of the 14 embattled student activists and the unlawful collection of the activists’ mobile phones.
Yaowalak Anupan, the head of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), said at a press conference on Sunday, 28 June, at Thammasat University, that the arrest on Friday was hasty and unprofessional.
The 14 activists, mostly students, were arrested for political gatherings on 22 May, the first anniversary of the 2014 coup d’état in Bangkok and the northeastern province of Khon Kaen.
After the arrest, the investigative officers attempted to interrogate the activists without their lawyers’ presence. Therefore, activists refused to proceed with the investigation and declared that they would only be represented by lawyers, said Kisadang Nutjarat, a lawyer from the TLHR.
Kisadang pointed out that the activists arrested have the right to their preferred lawyers to prevent the authorities from taking advantage of them.
The activists were also arrested without questioning or taking down of fingerprints because the police were in a hurry to take the activists to the military court and to submit a custody petition before midnight of Friday, added Yaowalak.
TLHR also announced that normally the court closes at 4 pm. Therefore, the operation of the military court until midnight just for these arrests raises suspicions of unprofessionalism.
In addition after the arrest of the student activists, from around midnight until 3 am on Saturday, military and police officers attempted to search a car of a TLHR lawyer parked in the military court compound. The lawyer, however, refused to let officers search her car without a warrant, and stood guard at her car all night as the police refused to let her drive away.
On Saturday morning, after the warrant was acquired, a police officer broke the evidence collection protocol as he seized five phones belonging to the activists without proper evidence-sealing procedure while transporting the evidence. He disappeared with them for ten minutes, after which the officer returned and handed the phones over to an evidence collection officer.
Kisadang Nutjarat from the TLHR stated that evidence obtained via unlawful procedures cannot be used in court.
The lawyer added that during those ten minutes, the phones could have easily been tampered with. Moreover, the unwarranted break-in attempt and lawyer intimidation denotes unlawful action, as well as obstruction of justice.
Kisadang also relayed four messages from the activists to the public at the press conference. First, the activists insist that they are political prisoners accused of political wrongdoing. Second, they do not have intentions to request bail, except in the case of a temporary release for immediate medical attention. Third, all 14 activists reject the authority of the military court and will only go to trial in a civil court.
Finally, the activists called for their release, as well as the release of all other political prisoners, without condition.Read more...
The Thai military and police in the northern Thailand summoned and inspected pro-democracy activists, academics, and students to make sure that nothing would happen during the junta’s cabinet meeting in the province.
Between from 23-29 June 2015, the military and police officers in Chiang Mai summoned and inspected at more than 15 activists, academics, writers, students, and others in the province to make sure that no anti-junta activity would take place during the junta’s cabinet meeting on 29-30 June 2015.
On 23 June, the military officers in Chiang Mai summoned four members of the anti-establishment red shirt group in the province for a talk at Kawela Military Base one of the whom is Pol Sen Sgt Maj Pichit Tamoon, one of the key local red shirt leaders.
At around the same time, police officers from the Special Branch Thai Police (SBP), a police division responsible for national security’s intelligence, came to Chiang Mai University to talk to Somchai Preechasinlapakun, a lecturer of the Faculty of Law of the university, over the junta’s meeting.
The security officers in Chiang Mai participate in the drill to prepare for the junta’s meeting between 29-30 June 2015
Two police officers in plainclothes also paid a visit to Piphop Udomitthipon, an independent writer and translator, to inspect about his background and activities. The officers mentioned that they were assigned to make sure that there would be no disturbance on the junta’s meeting and warned the writer that he will be visited by security officers again if he does not obey.
During the same week, the officers in plainclothes also visited Nithipong Samrankong, another independent writer in the province, who was summoned for an attitude adjustment after the coup earlier, and another local cultural activist.
On 26 June, military officers summoned two members of the Federation of Northern Farmers (FNF) for a talk.
Rodjareat Wattanapanich, an pro-democracy activist and founder of the Book Republic, a bookshop in Chiang Mai, and Direak Khongngoen, one of the FNF’s key leaders, were also inspected by the security officers last week regardings the junta’s meeting.
In addition, several village chiefs and students from Chiang Mai University were also contacted the the security officers at around the same time as well.
According to Thairath Online, over 2,000 military, police, and other security officers are assigned to quell any anti-junta activities that might take place in Chiang Mai during the junta’s meeting.
On 25 June, the military and police officers in the province participated in the drill in preparation for the coming up meeting, Thairath reported.Read more...
On the 29th June, 2015 at 06:40 police in Koh Samui received a report that a fatal shooting had taken place near the Hin Lat Waterfall Bridge at Hin Lat Waterfall Temple. On arrival at the scene the authorities discovered the body of Mr. Chalerm Kampeerapap, a 57 year-old Buddha sculpture maker. The deceased had […]
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The Thai police confiscated five mobile phones after a search on a car of a defense lawyer of the 14 embattled anti-junta student activist while the lawyer pointed out that the search was unlawful.
According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), at 3 pm on Saturday Pol Col Suriya Jamnongchok, an investigative officer of Samranraj Police Station in Bangkok searched a car of Sirikan Charoensiri, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), who is one of the defence lawyers of the 14 embattled student activists in front of Bangkok’s Military Court.
The police officer reasoned that the search was for collecting objects that were used for illegal activities as evidence and things that were acquired illegally.
An investigative officer searches Sirikan's car in front of Bangkok's Military Court on 27 June 2015 (Photo from TLHR)
After the search, the officer collected five mobile phones that were found in the lawyer’s car some of which belong to the student activists who are now under detention, including, a tablet, TLHR reported.
The police later brought all the evidences collected from the lawyer’s car to Chanasongkram Police Station.
Prior to the search, Sirikan at around 1 pm came to Samranraj Police Station and filed a complaint under Article 157 of the Thai Criminal Code, malfeasance in office, against the police, pointing out that the officers unlawfully confiscated her car for the search.
The lawyer also pointed out to a police that the investigative officer who searched her car transported the evidences collected to the police station without sealing them, which was against normal searching procedures, and spent about 15 minutes to hand the evidences to the relevant authorities.
While filing the complaint, Sirikan told the police to note down the unprofessional way in which the evidences were handled in the police’s report because the electronic information on the devices confiscated can be easily interfered. However, the police did not accept the complaint.
The police attempted the search Sirikan’s car since 1 am on Saturday, but was not able to because of the lawyer’s objection to allow the search without an official warrant from the court. Later, the officers obtained the warrant from the court at 11 am on Saturday and was able to carry out the search.Read more...
Pro-democracy activists and people from all walks of life gathered at Thammasat University and Bangkok Remand Prison on Sunday to give moral support for 14 embattled anti-junta activists under custody.
At noon on Sunday, many students from Liberal League of Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD), activists, academics and others gathered in front of the Tha Prachan Campus of Thammasat University to attached placards with messages to support the 14 student activists on the campus’ wall.
One of the placards is a message from Kasian Techapeera, a renowned anti-junta political scientist of Thammasat and Chulalongkorn University, which reads ‘I’m proud to be your lecturer’.
Kasian Techapeera's message to support the student activists under custody
Some other placards attached to the campus’ wall read ‘release the 14 student activists unconditionally’, ‘people who are behind this [anti-junta activities] is nobody, but ordinary people who love democracy’, ‘dictatorship will be ruined and democracy will triumph’.
At 8 pm on the same day, around 30 people some of which are activists from Neo-Democracy Group, an anti-junta group, gathered in front of Bangkok Remand Prison, where the student activists are detained and lit up candles to symbolically show support for the student activists.
They also released white balloons to show their moral support and read out a statement to denounce the Thai junta’s measure to arrested the student activists.
The group statement pointed out that despite the fact that all the 14 student activists always made it clear that they would not escape, the Bangkok’s Military Court detained them and denied their lawyer’s objection to the custody order.
The group added that the military court’s decision to detain the student activists was also read at an unusual hour on Friday night, which is not the normal working hours of the court.
A member of the Neo Democracy Group reads out the statement to denounce the Thai junta's arrest of the student activists
“This sort of behavior [of the authorities] shows that the state officials are abusing the justice system to arrest and prosecute those who have different political stands,” said the group’s statement.
On Friday night, the Bangkok Military Court granted custody permission to detain 14 student activists who are accused of violating the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 7/2014, which prohibits any political gathering of more than five persons for holding symbolic events to commemorate the 2014 coup d’état on 22 May.
In addition, the 14 are also charged under Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law, for holding anti-junta political activities. If found guilty they could face up to seven years of imprisonment.
On Saturday, Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, the Thai Army Chief, said that the arrest of the 14 student activists was necessary to prevent further political conflicts and made ambiguous claim that the authorities now know who are behind the anti-junta activities.
The army chief also threatened to use harsh measures against people who support the student activists.
Seven of the 14 are student activists from the Dao Din Group, a student activist group based in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen. The rest are student activists from Thai Student Centre for Democracy (TSCD) based in Bangkok.Read more...
A huge THANK – YOU to our great supporter Silvana from Switzerland who has collected a great amount of donations in Switzerland to have a specially designed DogRescue-Sidecar built and we also bought a new motorbike. Walter Lehmann who’s been living in Lamai a long time and is a good friend of Silvana has designed […]Read more...
The Thai police officers attempted to search a car of a lawyer representing the 14 embattled student activists without a search warrant.
At 1 am on Saturday, the interrogation officers from Chanasongkram Police Station in Bangkok attempted to search a car which belongs to Sirikan Charoensiri, a lawyer from Thai Lawyer for Human Rights (TLHR) who is one of the defense lawyers of the 14 embattled student activists in front of the Bangkok’s Military Court.
Sirikan Charoensiri negotiates with a police officer in front of the military court at an early hour on 27 June (Photo from Sirikan's facebook profile).
However, the lawyer refused to let the police officers carry out the search saying that in accordance to the law the officers supposed to present a search warrant before the measure.
The event happened shortly after the Military Court detained the 14 student activist charged with defying the Thai junta’s political gathering ban and Article 116 of the Criminal Code, a sedition law, for holding anti-junta activities.
Despite Sirikan’s disapproval, the police wanted to bring the car to Chanasongkram Police Station
After a brief negotiation, at 1:20 am, the police told the lawyer that they would not bring the car the the police station and will search the car later on Saturday morning.
The police then attached a piece of paper to the car to guarantee that they would not arbitrarily open it. Sirikan, however, chose to remain cautious and guarded her car until the search.Read more...
(New York, June 27, 2015) – Thai authorities should immediately drop all charges and release unconditionally 14 student activists who peacefully expressed opposition to military rule, Human Rights Watch said today.
On June 26, 2015 in Bangkok, police and soldiers enforced a military court warrant to arrest 14 students from the Neo-Democracy Movement for sedition and violating the military junta’s ban on public assembly. The students are now held in the Bangkok Remand Prison and the Central Women Correctional Institution for 12 days while awaiting trial in a military court.
“Thailand’s junta should immediately stop arresting and prosecuting student activists,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “While insisting they aren’t dictators, the Thai generals have used the military courts as a central feature of their crackdown against peaceful criticism and political dissent.”
On June 24 and 25 authorities arrested Rangsiman Rome, Wasant Sadesit, Songtham Kaewpanphruek, Payu Boonsopon, Apiwat Suntararak, Rattapol Supasophon, Supachai Pookhlongploy, Apisit Sapnapapha, Panupong Sritananuwat, Suvicha Pitungkorn, Pakorn Areekul, Chatupat Boonyapatraksa, Pornchai Yuanyee and Chonticha Chaengreo. The students took part in peaceful rallies calling for an end to military rule under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The army commander-in-chief, Gen. Udomdej Seetabutr, publicly accused the 14 student activists of being backed by anti-government groups and claimed their actions could lead to disturbances and violence.
If found guilty of sedition under article 116 of the penal code, the harsh provision criminalizing free expression under Thai law, the activists would face up to seven years in prison. In addition, they would face an additional six-month prison term and a fine of up to 10,000 baht (US$312) for breaching the NCPO’s public assembly ban.
These latest arbitrary arrests again demonstrate the military junta’s unwillingness to ease its oppressive rule, Human Rights Watch said. International human rights law, as reflected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratified by Thailand in 1996, protects the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. However, since the May 2014 coup, the junta has banned political gatherings of more than five people. The authorities have arrested at least 80 people for organizing or taking part in such public gatherings.
The NCPO’s 37th order replaces civilian courts with military tribunals for crimes of national security and sedition, and for lese majeste (offending the monarchy). Individuals who violate the NCPO’s orders are also subject to prosecution in military courts. Hundreds of people, mostly political dissidents and critics of the NCPO, have been sent to trials in military courts since the coup.
International human rights law prohibits governments from using military courts to try civilians when civilian courts are functioning. The use of military courts in Thailand also fails to meet international fair trial standards under the ICCPR. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the international expert body that monitors state compliance with the ICCPR, has stated in its General Comment on the right to a fair trial that “the trial of civilians in military or special courts may raise serious problems as far as the equitable, impartial and independent administration of justice is concerned.” This is particularly problematic in Thailand where every element of military courts functions within the Defense Ministry’s chain of command.
“With each new arrest, Thailand’s path toward democracy is getting harder to find,” Adams said. “Governments around the world should press the junta to end repression and respect fundamental rights.”
The Thai Military Court detained 14 embattled students activists accused of violating the Thai junta’s political assembly ban amid a crowd who came to give moral support to the students.
At 00:20 am on Saturday, the Bangkok’s Military Court granted custody permissions to detain 14 student activists who are accused of violating the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Order No. 7/2014, which prohibits any political gathering of more than five persons for holding symbolic events to commemorate the 2014 coup d’état on 22 May.
People sing and write banner to give moral support to the 14.
At the court, a defense lawyer of the 14 submitted a request against the custody permissions without success. The 14 will be detained under the first custody period of 12 days with the possibility of the custody permissions being renewed.
The 13 student activists were brought to Bangkok Remand Prison while the only female student activist of the group, Cholticha Jangrew, was brought to Central Women Correctional Institute in Bangkok.
People light up candles to support the student activists on the night of 26 June 2015 next to the Military Court of Bangkok
Earlier at 5:30 pm on Friday, the police officers arrested the 14 at their safe house, Suan Ngern Mee Ma, Charoen Krung, Bangkok and took them to the Phra Ratchawang Police Station for interrogation.
About 50 people came to give moral support to the group in time of the arrest.
At 00:30 on Saturday, the crowd led by members of Neo Democracy Movement (NDM), an anti-coup group, sang ‘Sang Daw Heng Sattha’ (the light of faith from the stars) and Song of the Commoners, Thai civil movement songs, to encourage the student activists while they were being transported to prisons.
Activists from Neo Democracy Movement Group sang in support of the 14. (left) Natchacha Kongudom, another renown student activist from Thai Student Center for Democracy (TSCD)
Some also held placards and lit up candles to give the embattled student activists moral support.
Seven of the 14 are student activists from Dao Din Group, a student activist group based in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen. The rest are student activists from Thai Student Center for Democracy (TSCD) based in Bangkok.Read more...
Samui Ex-pats love the taste of British chocolate and luckily for them its available in abundance at the Expat Food Shop however the Cadbury’s Creme eggs are selling fasts and the Iron Bru is flying out the door too so be sure to make a stop at the Expat Food Shop open from 11am until […]
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A British man was found hanged at his home in Sakoo earlier today (June 26), police have not yet ruled the incident as suicide. At 7:30am, Tha Chatchai police were called to a house in Sakko where a man had been found hung next to a chicken coop. Upon arrival at the house in Moo […]Read more...
Military claim ‘vicious harassment’, appeal to NHRC
The military junta who have taken total control of Thailand have started to make public complaints of political harassment, claiming that ‘unscrupulous opposition forces’ are mounting relentless attacks that leave them humiliated, frustrated and barely able to administer the country.
It appears that the military see their major enemy as the various student groups who have repeatedly endangered national security by secretly holding placards in public places, forming underground cells of more than 4 people who are discovered demonstrating on the street, and expressing opinions that show a complete disregard for the dignity, sanity and self-satisfaction of the armed forces.
‘We are doing all we can to counter these people, who seem to think they have a right to say how the country should be run,’ said a spokesperson for the coup-makers’ National Council for Peace and Order who requested anonymity for fear of repercussions.
‘But every time we arrest them or take them away for friendly discussions where we have the guns and they have the handcuffs, it seems to have no effect. They just do it again. They say that they simply want the freedom to think for themselves, but we find that hard to believe. I mean, we in the military never want to do that, why should they?’
While the military have taken pride in strictly following the rules that they themselves make up as they go along, their greatest fear is that one day they will be provoked into drastic retaliation that will rebound on them if the general population turns against them.
‘Our own opinion polls show that when asked by armed men in uniform, the vast majority of Thais think we are the best government they have ever had,’ said one insider. ‘But you know opinion polls in Thailand; they never seem to work, just like elections.’
The situation has deteriorated to the point where the military top brass have become convinced that their rights are being routinely violated. They have asked the NHRC to investigate anyone who threatens their right to tear up the constitution, write their own laws, and get angry when the media ask awkward questions. The NHRC has reportedly set up a committee to look into this.
In the meantime, the military establishment is doing what it can to minimize the danger. Instead of tackling minor national problems like the economy, corruption, land rights, the education system and police reform, they have decided to focus on the big issues – the price of lottery tickets, teenagers racing motorbikes and whether Thailand should have casinos.
Minister blames ‘miscommunication’ for running red light
Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong told police last night that he drove through a red light because of a ‘miscommunication’ with Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. According to the Minister, although he knew the light was red, his deputy had told him that no one else would be able see it and so he would not have to stop like other drivers.
ACM Prajin argued that the traffic police had shown no consideration for his manner of driving and should not have compromised his good name. ‘We have worked hard during the six-month grace period that the police gave us to improve our driving habits. We formed committees, wrote manuals and re-organized a number of agencies. But they still hit us with a red light when we are in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s just not fair.’
The Ministry later issued a statement saying that the incident would not jeopardize Thailand’s standing as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for traffic accidents.
Thailand cries foul over early end to World Cup dreams
The Thai women’s football team says that only an arbitrary cut-off point ended Thailand’s progress in the Women’s World Cup in Canada.
‘The organizers insisted on going by the score after 90 minutes’, complained team manager Nuanphan Lamsam. ‘But Thailand did much better in an extra period after losing 4-0 to Germany in regulation time.’
‘Many matches go into extra time’, said the manager. ‘We were very upset to be 4-0 down after 90 minutes, so we carried on after the final whistle, although the Germans didn’t, and we did much better.’
The Thai team took a series of penalties at the now unguarded German goal and scored 7 times from 43 attempts until the groundskeepers turned on the sprinklers and chased them off.
According to the Thai captain, this means they should really have been awarded full points for a victory and allowed to continue into the knock-out stages. But this was refused by FIFA who said that the 90-minute cut-off was the same for all teams.
A statement from the Football Authority of Thailand said that the treatment of the women’s national team by the World Cup organizers was regrettable and discriminatory. They offered to open negotiations with the FIFA hierarchy provided the Lamsam family, who were bankrolling the woman’s team, provided sufficient ‘resources’ to make it worth their while.
About author: Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).Read more...
An accomplished directorial debut features two brothers reconnecting in Bangkok following their father’s suicide
Set in Bangkok circa 1997, this moody drama about two brothers trying to cope with their father’s suicide subtly queries the impact of macroeconomics on personal lives.
Elder brother Mutt (soulful Ananda Everingham), who’s been living in New York as a currency trader, shoulders guilt for his own small contribution to his country’s – and consequently his father’s – meltdown, and tries to recover some lost innocence by reconnecting with his ex-girlfriend Sai (Janesuda Parnto), who also has money troubles.Continue reading... Read more...