Govt seeks help over fugitives


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Govt seeks help over fugitives
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Royal Thai Government will try to convince other countries not to allow Thai fugitives to engage in anti-government activities, particularly those who commit lese majeste, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said yesterday.

He said the government would also attempt to bring those who did back to Thailand to face justice.

The remark came after Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha instructed relevant state agencies to urgently make other countries understand the lese majeste law and prevent fugitives from engaging in political activities.

Exiled Thammasat University historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, who has 130,000 Facebook followers and is often critical of the monarchy, was singled out by Gen Prayut earlier this week. Somsak, who refused to report himself to the junta after the coup, is believed to be in exile in the United States.

Sek said Cambodia and Laos had assured Thailand that they would not allow their countries to become a base for political attacks against the government by expatriates. He said some people wanted by the authorities may not be in the country they were believed to be residing in, and they used social media to attack the government.

He said he understood that Western nations value human rights and democracy but the ministry hoped to be able to convince them to consider long-term relations with Thailand.

‘It may not always work’

Sek acknowledged that no extradition of a wanted person could be made if the laws of Thailand and the relevant country did not recognise the same criminal offence and it was unlikely the country would extradite anyone facing a political charge.

In a related development, Justice Minister Gen Paiboon Koomchaya said that he had met with related security agencies in relation to pursuing cases against people who violated the lese majeste law including those behind the rumour which affected the stock market this week.

Gen Paiboon said the ministry would ask the Office of the Attorney-General to seek the repatriation of criminals but acknowledged that it would not be easy.

Nevertheless, he said measures were needed to try and stop the spreading of such content on social media.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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