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…

A Sensible Answer to Southeast Asia’s Drug Problems

A Sensible Answer to Southeast Asia’s Drug ProblemsIn February of 2003, then-Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra launched a bloody “war on drugs” that lasted for three months and resulted in police killings of 2,800 suspects, only half of whom were later found to have anything to do with drugs. The rest may simply have been in the wrong place at the wrong…

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…

Something Fishy with Thailand’s Fishing Industry

Something Fishy with Thailand’s Fishing IndustryThailand’s military rulers are making another effort to sidetrack European Union threats to hand out a “red card” to the Thai fishing industry for illegal fishing – and the trafficking and labor abuse which are also widespread. In a curious reflection on the competence of Thai armed forces, the junta has sacked the navy chief…

Leicester City Cinderella Story Authored by Thai Oligarch

Leicester City Cinderella Story Authored by Thai OligarchThe discourse of “The Little Club That Could” – Leicester City, which went from near relegation to the top of world football – is beguiling. When an emotional fan broke down on the BBC last year after a Leicester City Foxes victory, it became a news story. The manager recently cried on the field; and the…

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…