Sea Change Awaits Trump in Thailand

Sea Change Awaits Trump in ThailandThree months after his election, a month after inauguration, Donald Trump has not publicly mentioned Thailand.  Yet in a looming foreign policy crisis over the South China Sea, the seeds of which the president partly inherited and has partly sowed, the kingdom is poised to play an outsized and oppositional role.  China has territorial disputes…

Thailand’s New King: Who is he Really?

Thailand’s New King: Who is he Really?The mystery is over. After decades of question marks over the Thai royal succession, former Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn is now Rama X of the Chakri dynasty. After a period of suspense after his father’s death, the son and heir has been invited to become king, and has accepted. Yet much mystery remains about how the…

Thai Media Magnate Pays the Price for Backing Wrong Royalist Faction

Thai Media Magnate Pays the Price for Backing Wrong Royalist FactionThe jailing for 20 years of media magnate and one-time Royalist Yellow Shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul   says less about his offense – creating a fraudulent report to support a loan transaction on a linked company – than it does on Thailand’s legal system. Sondhi, once a fervent supporter of the royalist faction aligned with the…

Thailand’s Notorious ‘Da Torpedo’ Goes Free

Thailand’s Notorious ‘Da Torpedo’ Goes FreeThe freeing of political prisoner Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, better known as Da Torpedo, and two other lese majeste prisoners in Thailand over the weekend from prolonged sentences to Thai prisons masks the fact that hundreds of prisoners have been pushed through military courts with almost no rights since the 2014 coup that brought the National Council…

Junta Wins Thailand’s Farcical Election

Junta Wins Thailand’s Farcical ElectionAlthough Thailand’s junta won the Aug. 7 referendum on a draft constitution with 62 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, any idea that this was a democratic election that validates the army’s hold on power is specious. It is highly unlikely that the result, being welcomed by the junta as a triumph, is…

Thailand Awaits a Rigged Referendum

Thailand Awaits a Rigged ReferendumOn Aug. 7, Thailand’s 40 million-odd voters are scheduled to go to the polls to vote on a draft constitution that the junta has attempted to rig so thoroughly that it thinks it can’t lose, although it might anyway. The goal of the draft constitution – the country’s 19th since the military staged its first…

Thai Junta’s Charter Referendum in Doubt

Thai Junta’s Charter Referendum in DoubtDespite the Thai junta’s extraordinary efforts to quell opposition to its Aug. 7 referendum on a new constitution – more likely to be a referendum on the junta itself – it may not pass or the military might be forced to withdraw it, according to sources in Bangkok. The document has been in the making…

Thai Junta to Crack Down Harder on Internet Users

Thai Junta to Crack Down Harder on Internet UsersThe Thai junta, which already administers one of the world’s toughest measures against supposed misuse of computers, appears on the verge going to frantic lengths to stiffen the law even more with, among other things, an amendment that could give the government the ability to force internet users to decrypt their transmissions. The military has…

Thailand: Making Merit While Escaping the Law

Thailand: Making Merit While Escaping the LawIn October of 1973, amid a storm of nationwide protest, Thanom Kittachikorn, the Thai field marshal who appointed himself the commander in chief of the army and ran a deeply repressive government from 1963, was forced to flee a student uprising. For three years, he remained in exile in the United States, finally returning in…

Thai Facebook Users Under Threat

Thai Facebook Users Under ThreatFacebook has successfully monopolized the social media space in Thailand for more than a decade. Among Thailand’s 67 million people, 28 million are on Facebook. In 2012, reportedly, Bangkok topped the “Global Facebook City List,” having some 8.68 million users, more than any other major city such as New York or London. Now that Thailand…
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