Pro-monarchy ‘dictator’ must be stopped from retiring in Australia, say Thai asylum activists

Exiled Thai activists are living in fear that a self-proclaimed “Van Helsing” “dictator” and pro-monarchy vigilante could be pursuing them in retirement.

Rienthong Nanna, a doctor and former army general, announced on Facebook that he plans to retire in Perth, Australia causing fear among those who now live there after fleeing the country after his vicious campaign.

Rienthong set up a vigilante group, the Rubbish Collection Organisation, in May 2014 to hunt down anti-royalists. He even announced that he was a “Van Helsing” type character that would “sweep away the rubbish.”

Van Helsing is a fictional movie character who hunted down monsters and vampires.

Victims of his crusade to crush anti-monarchists called on the Australian government to deny the zealot into the country, highlighting his cruel methods to use his loyal fan base on social media to help him track down critics of the monarchy and impose the severest punishment.

Pro-monarchy ‘dictator’ must be stopped from retiring in Australia, say Thai asylum activists | News by Thaiger

Picture of Krittanai Thepsai courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald.

Krittanai Thepsai fled the kingdom soon after the military coup in 2014. He was critical of the then king Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016. He was granted asylum in Australia after he was targeted by the Rienthong’s mercenaries.

Krittanai claims Rienthong posted personal information about him on social media, threatened to kill him and allegedly said his followers would break into his house in Chiang Mai and rape his 16-year-old daughter.

“I cannot believe Rienthong could get a visa to Australia.”

Another one of his targets, a former gym instructor in Bangkok, Pisarn Thanathavornlarp, left Thailand for Sydney after he was attacked about a social media post he made in 2014.

Pisarn said his comment was ironic and not a direct critique of the monarchy but after a Rienthong doxing he too had to flee Thailand for Australia after fearing lese-majeste prison charges.

“If Rienthong didn’t post, it wouldn’t have that much impact. Because it was Rienthong, strangers just came in and cursed me via Facebook. My life changed completely”

Pisarn questions how such an extremist would be allowed to visit or live in Australia.

“Who can guarantee that Rienthong, in this country, won’t try to do this again? Who can ensure he won’t try to crack down on people who are critical of the monarchy in Thailand?

“Since he’s the one pushing people out of the country, why doesn’t he stay in the country? You shouldn’t come here, you should just stay in Thailand.”

The 63 year old monarchist revealed his father bought some property in Perth in 1992 and he would like to split his time between there and Bangkok in retirement adding it “doesn’t mean I hate the (Thai) nation,” an accusation he has levelled at political opponents and those who fled from persecution.

“I am not migrating, running away from charges, seeking asylum or escaping jail. I only want to take my family to clean my parents’ house and keep it from deterioration.”

He announced to his 162,000 Facebook followers…

“A dictator like me is welcomed by the Australian government,” and added he would return to Thailand “whenever there was a threat to the throne.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age, contacted Rienthong and asked about his retirement plan in Australia. He simply said it was “fake news.”

On Facebook, he claimed there was an international network out to get him and prevent him from travelling to Australia, Europe, and the United States and that the Australian government should not believe what was said about him.

Several Thai activist groups have written to Australia’s ambassador in Bangkok, Angela Macdonald, calling for Rienthong’s status to be re-considered.

One letter stated…

“His use of social media is full of hate speech and dehumanisation of people who hold different values to him. His actions are clearly divisive, discriminating and against Australian values.”

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a Thai academic and well-known royal critic living in exile in Japan said so many lives have been affected by his hyper-royalist actions.

“The list is long when it comes to the fascist behaviour of Rienthong, who has relied on [the] lese-majeste law to eliminate his opponents.

“His behaviour will not be tolerated in any true democratic countries in the world … which, as I assume, includes Australia.”

Pro-monarchy ‘dictator’ must be stopped from retiring in Australia, say Thai asylum activists | News by Thaiger
Pisarn Thanathavornlarp, courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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