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Ceremony marks 6 months since Thai activist’s disappearance in Cambodia

Caitlin Ashworth

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Ceremony marks 6 months since Thai activist’s disappearance in Cambodia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Reuters
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It’s been 6 months since Thai pro-democracy activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit disappeared in Cambodia. Many, including his family, claim the activist was abducted. The Human Rights Watch says the 37 year old was seen being forced into a vehicle in front of his Phnom Penh apartment in June.

A Buddhist ceremony was held today outside the activist’s apartment, marking 6 months since the disappearance. Monks chanted and scattered sacred water. The activist’s sister, Sitanun, attended the ceremony and called on authorities to solve the case.

“We do not know the perpetrator; however it is the duty and responsibility of authorities both in Cambodia and Thailand to find the truth.”

Wanchalearm fled Thailand after the 2014 military coup. He was accused of violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law. Since the coup, at least 8 other self-exiled Thai activists have disappeared from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Some were found dead. Thai authorities deny any involvement with the disappearances.

Not much has been said by authorities regarding the activist’s disappearance. In past interviews, Cambodian police have said that they are unaware about a kidnapping. Cambodian police declined to comment when reached by Reuters reporters. Thailand’s embassy in Phnom Penh says they’re following the case, but couldn’t comment on details because it is “under legal process.”

Sitanun says she will appear in Phnom Penh court on December 8. She says she has photos and videos that show her brother was in the city when he disappeared.

SOURCE: Reuters

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    No more to be said is there.?
    Who are the likely suspects?
    The nasty vicious corrupt scum Thai authorities.
    Who else had the motive?.
    If anyone speaks up it the defence of Thailand, quote: What happened to Mr Satsaksit?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 1:37 am

      His sister has said she was talking to him on his mobile while he was abducted and could hear what was happening for about 30 minutes.

      According to her, he was the only one she heard speaking Thai and all the other voices were speaking Khmer, which she does not understand.

      I’m not trying to defend anyone or to say “who are the likely suspects” or “who else had the motive”, just to point out some facts.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 8:07 am

        If he was speaking Thai it was likely he was talking to Thais.
        Maybe there were Thais there posing as Cambodians, and speaking Khymer
        You write again in favour of the Thais, and still write I am not trying to defend anyone.
        You are.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 3:51 pm

          Toby, I didn’t think it was possible but you’ve surpassed even your own standards of un-informed petulance.

          Accoprding to his sister, during the telephone conversation with her he suddenly cried out “I can’t breathe” (in Thai). That was the last thing she heard him say and the last thing she heard on the phone in Thai, so there is no indication whatsoever that “it was likely he was talking to Thais”.

          According to the eye-witnesses, who confirmed what his sister heard, he was abducted by Cambodian police who later returned to his apartment and removed all his property from it.

          “Maybe there were Thais there posing as Cambodians, and speaking Khymer”, or maybe they were little green men from Mars, but all those who witnessed or heard it at first hand are certain that they were Cambodian police, which is what all the informed reports and investigations conclude – without exception.
          That’s further evidenced by the Cambodian authorities’ denial first that he was living at the apartment and then that he was in Cambodia at all, which they would be unlikely to have said if he had simply been abducted by a group of “Thais posing as Cambodians” in broad daylight on the street in front of the apartment.

          Far from my “writing again in favour of Thais”, you’ve completely missed the significance of the involvement of the Cambodian authorities in this and other “disappearances”, as well as that of the Laos and Vietnam authorities over the last fifteen years and more.

          It’s not about absolving Thailand of responsibility and being “in favour of Thais”, but it’s THE COMPLETE REVERSE.

          If it was a lone case that was just down to a handful of “Thais there posing as Cambodians” who abducted him then it wouldn’t be as significant as it is.

          Instead, the significance is that this is one of a string of “disappearances” of Thais abroad in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (some of whom have been found dead), as well as similar disappearances of dissidents from those countries when abroad.

          The conclusions are that these could only be down to mutual requests from so-called “authorities” to their opposite numbers abroad (in this case from Thailand to Cambodia).
          What’s not known, though, and probably never will be, is whether those requests came from those ‘IN’ power or those ‘WITH’ power, as there’s a very significant difference between the two which is why “I’m not trying to defend anyone or to say “who are the likely suspects” or “who else had the motive”, just to point out some facts.”

          If you think that’s “writing in favour of the Thais” because it involves those from other countries as well, you’re in la-la land.

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 9:38 am

            Well with great difficulty I have read though your long post, and even though you do your best to blame the Cambodians, you still do not dispute what I wrote. WHO HAD THE MOTIVE.
            And, if any person is being strangled, is it likely they would protest in a language that the assailants do not understand? Like say in this case in Swaheli?
            Your post was hard to read because you contradict what you write all the way through.
            Read again your paragraph, beginning The conclusions are . . .
            You will then see why no one is in la la land but you.
            You have surpassed even your dedicated defence of Thais and all matters Thais.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 1:26 am

    Are you sure “he was accused of violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law”?

    That isn’t in the Reuters report cited as your source, and according to his sister’s interviews which I’ve seen previously his disappearance was unusual in that unlike the other Thais who have “disappeared” from Cambodia and Laos he never criticised the monarchy and was never wanted on lèse majesté charges but had ‘only’ ever criticised the government and the military coup.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thailand

House votes to remove kratom from Thailand’s narcotics list

Caitlin Ashworth

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House votes to remove kratom from Thailand’s narcotics list | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The Thai House of Representatives voted to remove the plant kratom from the Thailand’s narcotics list and classify it as a controlled substance to be used for medicinal purposes. Kratom, a plant in the coffee family, is known for its relaxing effects and has been used in traditional medicine.

In a 319-7 vote, with 3 abstentions, the House agreed to remove kratom from the narcotics list. It’s now up for Senate approval and will become a law 90 days after it is published in the Royal Gazette.

The draft amendment allows those with permission from the Narcotics Control Board to be allowed to produce, import and export kratom. Kratom sales will be strictly regulated.

People under 18 years old and pregnant women will not be allowed to purchase kratom. Minors are also not allowed to sell kratom. Those who sell kratom to minors or hire minors to sell kratom will face up to 2 years in prison a fine up to 200,000 baht.

Kratom sales are prohibited at schools, dormitories, public parks, theme parks and online. Violators will face a fine up to 40,000 baht. Advertising and market kratom is also prohibited and those who violate the ban face up to 6 months in prison and a fine up to 500,000 baht.

Kratom is currently classified as a Category 5 narcotic along with cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms. Under Thailand’s Narcotic’s Act, those who produce, import or export kratom face up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to 200,000 baht. Those who possess kratom face up to 2 years in prison and a fine up to 40,000 baht. Those who possess more than 10 kilograms of kratom face up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to 200,000 baht.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Hotels and restaurants raided, 50 arrested for allegedly cheating “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme

Caitlin Ashworth

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Hotels and restaurants raided, 50 arrested for allegedly cheating “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

Several hotels and restaurants in Phuket and Chaiyaphum were raided this morning and 50 people were arrested for allegedly stealing from the government subsidy scheme “We Travel Together.” The scheme was launched to help businesses that were financially hit by the lack of tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic and to stimulate the battered economy.

Last month, the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn filed a criminal complaint against 312 hotels and 202 shops for allegedly cheating the scheme which covered 40% of room rates and offered e-vouchers. Instead of lowering prices to draw in more travellers, some hoteliers and restaurateurs allegedly raised their prices to get more subsidies.

This morning, police arrested 38 people in Chaiyaphum and 12 people in Phuket suspected of cheating the subsidy scheme. Suspects, including hotel and restaurant operators, face charges ranging from fraud and false identification to misusing electronic cards and adding fraudulent information to the computer system.

Nation Thailand says the verification system for the scheme was not stringent and people were able to register fake hotels and list fake bookings. Some hotel operators recorded higher prices for rooms to get a bigger payoff from the government.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

27 migrants allegedly disguised as monks arrested on illegal entry charges, Bangkok abbot under investigation

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27 migrants allegedly disguised as monks arrested on illegal entry charges, Bangkok abbot under investigation | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Immigration police arrested 27 Cambodians for allegedly entering Thailand illegally and impersonating Buddhist monks. Police say the migrants allegedly disguised themselves as Buddhist monks at Wat Talom in Bangkok’s Phasi Charoen district. The temple’s abbot is also under investigation for allegedly assisting and hiding illegal migrants.

Police searched the temple after receiving a tip that hundreds of monks lived in crowded rooms, conditions that officials worry could lead to a cluster of Covid-19 infections.

“We received a tip-off that the temple had several hundred monks living in a crowded space that could become a hotspot for Covid-19… People also reported that some monks from this temple were selling food they received from the public in the morning to merchants at nearby markets for reselling.”

Police asked for identification documents from the more than 200 migrants at the temple. 181 monks from Myanmar, India, Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh had proper documents, but police say 27 Cambodians had no identification documents. The 27 Cambodians were arrested and charged with illegally entering the country and impersonating Buddhist monks.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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