THAI ‘THOUGHT POLICE’ TO ARREST PEOPLE WHO PRESS ‘LIKE’ ON FACEBOOK FOR THE WRONG REASONS

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IS THAILAND – ‘THE LAND OF THE FREE’ – FIRST COUNTRY TO SET UP ‘THOUGHT POLICE’?

Computer crime police in Thailand have warned the public that if they click on ‘Like’ in certain posts in Facebook they could face trial and imprisonment.


The message is aimed at people who might ‘like’ a change of government currently controlled by the Pheu Thai Party and widely believed to still be being run by exiled Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

It seems the closest thing yet a national government has come to creating ‘Thought Police’ aka Thinkpol the law enforcement officials who arrested Winston and Julia in George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’.

Police: ‘You’re no prohibited from pressing ‘like’ – but if you do you will be arrested!’

In Orwell’s book the Inner Party not only try to control people’s actions but also their thoughts. Guilty persons can be charged and punished for ‘thoughtcrime’ – thinkcrime in newspeak.

Major Gen Pisit Pao-in, commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police told the ‘Nation’ newspaper:

Police: ‘We don’t use law we use political science’

 “It will be if you ‘like’ a message deemed damaging to national security. If you press ‘like’, it means you are accepting that message, which is tantamount to supporting it. By doing so, you help increase the credibility of the message and hence you should also be held responsible.

How the Nation headlined the interview – Picture – The Nation

“I’m not prohibiting from pressing ‘like’. But if you ‘like’ this kind of message, you will be arrested,” he added. 

“There are two kinds of sharing. If you share in a way to support the original message, this is wrong. But if you comment against the message, this is okay.” 

“They, other countries, have different laws. We are taking preventive measures in dealing with this matter. Others may use the principle of law but we use the principle of political science.”

Major General Pao-In said the laws were directed at people who were trying to physically stir up unrest by advocating a coup, or exhorting others to resort to violence on the streets.

On 21 October 2008, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ruled that Thaksin Shinawatra, one time owner of Manchester City FC, while prime minister, abused his power to help his wife buy public land at auction, and sentenced him to two years in jail. He subsequently left the country, but was refused asylum in the U.K.

Thai style – the TCSD’s cute owl

The current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is Thaksin’s younger sister. The current government wished to bring Thaksin back but cannot override the court giving him an amnesty without passing new laws.

This has led to unsettlement in a country which is bitterly divided over Thaksin’s period in power which saw a massive increase in allegations of corruption and human rights violations, but also government measures to alleviate the suffering of the poor. It still remains, in the form now of the Pheu Thai, the government of choice.

THAILAND – LAND OF THE FREE

I am not sure why Thailand is called the Land of the Free. Of course the public reason is because Thailand was, according to the Thais, never colonised. Then of course the Thai history, as taught in schools is not exactly true. That’s about the first thing students at the School of Oriental and African Studies learn in London. But of course they do not let on when they come to Thailand seeking work – They must snigger a lot behind the bike sheds though.

Personally I always thought Thailand was the land of the free because not many laws were enforced, and if they were, well, if you were rich enough, you just slipped the right people the right cash. A charming aspect of the country though is its laissez-faire attitude. Why make people uncomfortable when you can make them sabai? That’s truly wonderful. The smile is good too. We are not photographed by speed cameras everyday or under constant CCTV surveillance. But that’s well on the way in all the major tourist areas.

But when that mai-sabai moment comes then it comes with the force of a hammer on watermelon. 

I do not know why Thailand says it was never colonised. Foreigners virtually ran the country for a long time, running the Navy, standing as a Prime Minister, running the army, Post Office Telegraph etc. Britain introduced Thailand to the Industrial Revolution.

And how come there are so many Khmer, Burmese, and Laotian influences? They did not exactly just exactly trip and fall over in to Thailand. They came in war.

The Japanese who marched in to Thailand in the Second World War did not exactly come as benefactors either. They were to all intents and purposes an army of occupation, who took what they wanted and while promoting the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere became less benign as the years drew on. 


But Thais forget about yesterday much quicker than foreigners and do not often see the day after tomorrow.

Of course Thailand is free for the rich. A lot of the rich like Thaksin and Yingluck, but then again a lot do not.

Will they get prosecuted if they press the wrong ‘Like’ button. These new laws seem to be against the constitution.  The Nation interview with Major General Pao-in is one of the remarkable interviews of our time, in Thailand that is. Its right up there with the Chiang Mai police officer commenting on the rape and murder of Kirsty Jones, 23, with words to the effect of : “She wanted it (sex) but it all went wrong when she refused to be sodomised”.

Ever filled in your credit card details on a free trial internet deal and forgot to cancel it. This new interpretation of somebody’s law is even more vicious. When foreigners press ‘Like’ on Facebook page they don’t always mean it. Sometimes they just mean ‘Duh’. But I am not sure if ‘sarcasm’ or ‘irony’ is a defence the Thai courts would understand.

But tonight I am hovering over Facebook. My finger is on the trigger.


Pick of the Day:   The Pattaya Mail.  Seems like the Flying Sporran has missed out on the “Media & Online Celebrities FAM Trip 2013” junket promoted by the Tourist Authority of Thailand. This write-up in the Pattaya Mail was for people working for such media as walipop.detik.com and mymedholiday.com.

Google Translate incidentally recognised walipop.ditek ( I spelled it wrong) as Haitian Creole but the right spelling is of course Bahasa Malay or Bahasa Indonesia.

This was for media who want to get pampered, fed to bloating point, then pampered again, in various ‘wellness’ places and restaurants in the Sofitel, Conrad, Terminal 21, Blue Elephant, Blue Spice.

(I hate that new word wellness. It should be taken out strangled and drowned. Its the sort of word I would get a clip over the ear at at school if I used it in class)

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It was part of something called ‘Meet your fabulous’. (Your fabulous what it does not say) I am going to have to start a travel section. FAM in travel industry jargon is ‘Familiarisation’.

These places are all in Bangkok by the way; nothing to do with Pattaya all, where the guy from mymedholiday would probably have a seizure if he tried ominously named ‘Amy suddenly single’ from  ‘My Girl Massage’. I mean why? What happened to HER husband?

The editors there either want to be on next year’s trip, or grateful for more pap to fill those endless pages as they have not changed a word from the PR handout.

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