In a deeply unhappy week for the Thai military government it has retaliated by threatening foreigners to shut up for face arrest.
The junta has had a series of bad news breaks.
First up was Thailand’s self-appointed Prime Minister General Chan-Ocha, who threatened to ban the film ‘Operation Mekong’ if it reflected badly on Thailand.
Then up came a photo of a Hmong hill tribe child whose picture allegedly stealing a wrist watch from a tourist at the temple on Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai went viral – after which Thai police conducted an investigation concluding the child’s Hmong mother would sue had the foreigners still been in Thailand.
And finally of course is the report by Amnesty International on 74 cases of torture, which includes water boarding and electric shocks to the genitals, committed by the military junta since it seized power in 2014.
In the first case the massacre of 11 Chinese on a boat on the Mekong in 2011 was almost certainly carried out by a force of the Thai military called Pha Muang, who then pushed the bodies off to be found later down river.
The most comprehensive report is here headed ‘Murder on the Mekong’. Looking at the promo material above, this film by a Hong Kong film-maker is not going to reflect too well on the Thai military – and Prayuth Chan-Ocha surely must know it.
Shan warlord Naw Kham was later executed, or so the Chinese announced, but even in the Chinese judgment it is stated that 9 Thai military men were also involved. The public trial of Naw Kham was expedient to both sides.
As for the Hmong child stealing a wrist watch from a tourist on Doi Suthep. The truth here is almost irrelevant. The picture of the child should never be published.
|Hmong – not related to story
You can fairly safely bet however that the threat to sue was not the idea of the Hmong mother, but Thai officials. If the Hmong or any other hill tribe people had the cash to use Thailand’s computer crime act they could lodge millions of cases against their Thai ‘landlords’.
And as for the Amnesty International report ‘Make Him Speak by Tomorrow’ Amnesty International officials said they called off a planned launch of it in Bangkok after they were intimidated by officials.
What a splendid way to draw attention to the report.
According to Time: “At the report launch on Wednesday, which was to be attended by a representative of the U.N. office of the high commissioner for human rights, authorities warned Amnesty’s foreign representatives that speaking publicly at the event would be a violation of Thai labor laws.”
That was an interesting reason. A representative of the UN High Commission on Human Rights was due to attend.
All in all, the general message is ‘Say anything bad about Thailand (true or not) and you’re out on your ear.’
The Guardian newspaper this week embarked on publication of an investigation by ‘Freeland’ into the South East Asia hub for trafficking in endangered and or protected species. The tonnage of wild life and bones trafficked through Thailand was horrific.
The report exposed Vietnamese and one half Vietnamese half Thai dealer, and a Thai buyer, and today comprehensively implicated the Laos government in the trade. Unfortunately, Bangkok based Freeland, a predominantly US concern, has not as yet come up with the comprehensive goods on Thailand or the Thai military general who was at the top of the trade.
I must say I have enjoyed some of their previous investigations in Thailand. There seems to be a reoccurring them. Every time they get near the bad guy…it always goes belly up.
Anyway its only Wednesday. The London Sun has carried a story about a couple buying a dream paradise island holiday in Thailand only to find their beach idyll was a building site.
Can anything else go wrong?