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Police, military deny knowledge of mystery men at rally site

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Police, military deny knowledge of mystery men at rally site | The Thaiger

Nearly a week after demonstrators clashed in Bangkok, police and defense ministry spokesmen say they have no idea who the 40 men were that appeared alongside riot police officers. The men, who donned military-style buzz cuts and civilian clothing allegedly assisted security forces during the crackdown on protesters.

At first, police spokesman Yingyot Thepchamnong denied that the men were even there, but then changed his tune after a reporter pointed out that there were photographs and video of the mysterious men. Now he says he isn’t sure what group the men belonged to.

“Those 30, 40 people who assembled, I have no idea either which group they belonged to. But we are investigating. According to our protocols, the people in charge of the crowd control operations would wear uniforms when conducting their duties in order to avoid any misunderstanding. There were also some plain-cloth officers, but they were usually scattered around the demonstration area.”

The men stood in 2 organised lines just behind the riot police during a confrontation with demonstrators in front of Grand Palace with most wearing white-coloured construction helmets. The men presented no identification documents and police made no attempt to have them leave the scene.

Defense Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich also denied in a phone call that the group of men were connected to the armed forces.

“We are not related to them at all. You have to ask the police.”

But many protesters believe that the men belonged to the authorities as they say they saw similar unidentified men working closely with security officers at past demonstrations. The men even earned the nickname as “Minions” after the cartoon character.

Police reform activist Somsri Hananuntasuk says this method of deploying unidentified men in civilian clothes is not in line with international standards of crowd control.

“Why wear casual clothes? Why not clearly identify themselves to the public who they were? There was no need for plain-cloth officers at all, unless you want to infiltrate the protest and blame the demonstrators when there was violence.”

Nonviolence advocate Gothom Arya also voiced his concerns over no one seeming to know who the men were. He is asking authorities to come clean about their agents involved in the protests.

“If there were security officers in operation, they must identify themselves as such. Police must have an answer. They can’t just deny knowledge of the men. If they were in the area, police must know which side they belong to.”

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    That is why these police wear respirators. It is not because of tear gas, it is to hide their long noses.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Strange – very strange. If police, why draw attention to themselves by being out of uniform?

    Did they do anything other than “mingling”?

    It all just seems not only pointless, but deliberately odd.

    • Avatar

      Pedro

      Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 6:09 pm

      I know from reading your comments just how much you like to dissect things into tiny details, IJ, so just for you, mingling means ‘To move among and engage with others at a social function’ The report says ‘The men stood in 2 organised lines just behind the riot police during a confrontation with demonstrators.’ Hardly the definition of ‘mingling’ there IJ, unless they led a charge against the demonstrators, at which point I guess that they could then have been said to have been ‘mingling’. 🙂

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 6:38 pm

        “mingling” was the word used in all the English language reports, Pedro, not my choice.

        They were clearly in no position to “lead a charge against the demonstrators”, though – most were wearing trainers, some wearing shorts, most wearing T-shirts of various colours, and a few with white construction helmets like some of the protesters.

        The only thing they all had in common was short hair and aged mid 20’s to 30’s.

        Very odd.

        • Avatar

          Toby Andrews

          Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 11:28 pm

          Very odd! Speak the truth although it will pain you to do so.
          These are Thai secret police there to do atrocities against Thai citizen protesters.
          Unidentified and untraceable.
          The thugs of a dictator government.
          Do not make excuses or a rotten Thai government.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Friday, February 19, 2021 at 1:34 am

            They were anything but “secret”, Toby!

            If you look at the vids, they didn’t mind a press photographer walking slowly past them, close up, filming them all.

            If you want to do any “atrocities” to any “citizen protesters” you wait until they’re arrested and on the floor in the back of the truck / van / whatever, close the door, and then help yourself. That’s how everyone does it!

            You don’t turn up in civvies, make yourself noticed, then let the press take your photo!

  3. Avatar

    Ian

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Not odd or pointless ij they were thier for a reason of which will come out but my thoughts are to attack the demonstrators but your thoughts would not ever think this of course ,the police denied they were thier then they admit they were once video and photographic evidence is shown bit like you in denial of being a areshole 555

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 7:00 pm

      Your “thoughts” make your lack of the experience you claim more than clear, Ian.

      They were wearing trainers; many were wearing jeans or shorts; T-shirts. Only a few had construction helmets.

      There were only a few of them.

      If they’d been stupid enough to “attack the demonstrators” they’d have had the sh1t kicked out of them as they weren’t dressed for it – they’d have been wearing boots, loose jeans and long sleeves.

      If they’d been there to “have a word” with those arrested they’d at least have been wearing boots.

      If they’d been there to grab a particular protester they’d have been “mingling” with the protesters, not paraded for all to see behind the police line.

      Just odd.

  4. Avatar

    Ian

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    Ij in uk police wear civvies and mingle with football hooligans gangsters ECT and infiltrate these gangs I hope the protesters are wise enough to not allow this to happen

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 8:44 pm

      Wow. Who’d have guessed it? 😮

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Thailand

Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report | The Thaiger
October protest at the Asok-Sukhumvit intersection in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

On a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being absolute freedom, Thailand scores at 30, a “not free” country, according to the nonprofit Freedom House. Each year, the organisation reviews the political rights and civil liberties of countries around the world. According to their recent assessment, Thailand has declined in terms of rights and liberties, dropping on the scale from “partly free” to “not free.”

The main reason for the drop on the freedom scale, the organisation says, is “due to the dissolution of a popular opposition party that performed well in the 2019 elections, and the military-dominated government’s crackdown on youth-led protests calling for democratic reforms.”

The Future Forward Party was dissolved in February 2020 after the court found that the founder, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, had made a large donation to the party that exceeded the legal limit. The party’s leaders were then banned from politics for the next decade.

Youth-led protests started in February, but the demonstrations were put on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions banning large public gatherings. Protesters gathered in July as restrictions lifted, but some leaders then faced charges for holding a public gathering, which was still banned under emergency orders.

In October, the prime minister imposed what Freedom House calls a “severe” State of Emergency order in Bangkok that banned gatherings of more than 5 people. Some protesters were arrested for violating the order nearly immediately after it was imposed.

With activists pushing for monarchy reform and an end to the military’s involvement in government, raising subjects considered taboo and unprecedented in Thai society, the Thai government has increased its use of the draconian lèse majesté law. Since November, dozens of activists have faced charges for insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

Freedom House scores countries on topics like the electoral process, questioning if politicians and leaders were elected in free and fair elections, as well as freedom of expression and individual rights.

Thailand’s military seized power in 2014 in a bloodless coup. The 2017 constitution was drafted by a committee appointed by the military’s National Council for Peace and Order. In 2019, the country transitioned to what Freedom House calls a “military-dominated, semi-elected” government.

The 2019 elections were overseen by the Election Commission of Thailand, whose members were appointed by the military. All 250 senators were appointed by the military in 2019 to serve 5 year terms.

In 2020, the combination of democratic deterioration and frustrations over the role of the monarchy provoked the country’s largest anti-government demonstrations in a decade. In response to these youth-led protests, the regime resorted to familiar authoritarian tactics, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, lèse majesté charges, and harassment of activists. Freedom of the press is constrained, due process is not guaranteed, and there is impunity for crimes committed against activists.

SOURCE: Freedom House

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
Protest in Bangkok on February 28 / Photo by Thai News Pix

A riot police officer, who was deployed at the recent pro-democracy protests in Bangkok, has tested positive for Covid-19. His supervisor, chief of Wang Thonglang station Ekapop Tanprayoon, says the officer had visited Samut Sakhon, a coronavirus hotspot.

Riot police who worked closely with the infected officer, Somyot Nuamcharoen, are ordered to quarantine. The Wang Thonglang police station and any items the police officer handled are being disinfected, the chief says.

The officer had met up with friends during a visit to Samut Sakhon, just southwest of Bangkok. He travelled to the coastal province on February 18 and returned to Bangkok the next day.

On the 20th, he was deployed to a protest outside of parliament, just after returning from his trip to the “red zone” province. On Sunday, he deployed the protest outside the military barracks in Bangkok. The demonstration turned violent and numerous people were injured.

On Tuesday, his friend from Samut Sakhon tested positive for the virus. The infected officer was tested for Covid-19 that day and his result came back positive yesterday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Transport

“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers

Caitlin Ashworth

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“Sealed route” set at Bangkok airport for international transfers | The Thaiger
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

Thailand is now allowing international transits and transfers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by using a so-called “sealed route” arranged at the airport to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has now set guidelines for passengers who have a layover at the Bangkok airport.

Passengers will not be allowed to leave Concourse E. A “sealed route” for the passengers will be set up at Gate E10 and E9, allowing passengers to enter the airport at Gate E10, go through security screening and then either board the transit aircraft at Gate E9 or go on a designated shuttle bus directly to an aircraft.

Social distancing is required for all passengers in waiting areas and a face mask must be worn at all times. The CAAT says food and beverage services will be available at the airport’s “sealed route” waiting area, but there will be “active oversight” on the services. Areas will also be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Passengers must present required documents…

  • A fit-to-fly health certificate
  • Medical certificate declaring a negative Covid-19 result issued no more than 72 hours before departure
  • Travel health insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment expenses up to $100,000 USD

If demand increases, the airport will add Gates E5, E7 and E8 to the sealed route. If Concourse E is under maintenance, then Concourse F will be used under the same plan.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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