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Serbian government grants citizenship to Thailand’s former PM Yingluck

Tanutam Thawan

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Serbian government grants citizenship to Thailand’s former PM Yingluck | The Thaiger

The Serbian government has granted citizenship to Thailand’s former PM Yingluck Shinawatra. Yingluck fled Thailand in 2017 just days before the Court handed down its findings on negligence charges against her and her government.

52 year old Yingluck, now a fugitive, fled to Dubai to join her brother Thaksin, another former Thai PM who fled in 2006 to avoid a prison sentence for corruption. She would have faced up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The Serbian government announced that they’d granted Yingluck citizenship on June 27, citing a legal provision that “a foreign citizen can also be granted Serbian citizenship if that is in line with the country’s interests”.

The Official Gazette notice in Serbia, about the decision, was published in local media yesterday without providing any further details. Serbian officials, Thai diplomats in Belgrade and the Shinwatra family were not immediately available for comment, according to the Reuters report.

Yingluck, whose family dominated Thai politics for more than 15 years, pleaded innocent to charges related to her government’s rice-pledging scheme after taking over as Thailand’s first female premier in 2011 in the last democratic election until the Thai Army seized power in May 2014.

In 2010, Thaksin was granted honorary citizenship of Montenegro, Serbia’s former partner in the now-defunct state union.

SOURCE: Channel New Asia

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Thailand is facing “hybrid warfare” by “ill-intentioned politicians” – Army chief Gen Apirat

Tanutam Thawan

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Thailand is facing “hybrid warfare” by “ill-intentioned politicians” – Army chief Gen Apirat | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Screenshot – Matichon TV

Thailand’s Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong is warning that Thailand is facing what he described as a “hybrid warfare”.

The ultra-loyalist Army chief says the ‘war’ is being waged by a collection of “ill-intentioned politicians”, remnants of communist ideologues and “foreign forces” against the country’s major establishments. His speech was aimed fairly and squarely at opposition politicians who he accused of “soliciting foreign interference in Thai domestic affairs”.

His comments were heavily politically weighted for a man who is meant to represent the country’s Army, a position usually associated with political neutrality.

General Apirat was speaking at the army’s southern headquarters where he outlined what he claimed to be a conspiracy among several groups of people bent on “destroying the country and its major establishments.”

General Apirat referred to a recent visit to Hong Kong by a leading Thai opposition politician during which he met with pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, claiming it was an “illustration of how anti-government forces are trying to solicit foreign interference in Thai domestic affairs”.

He did not mention names specifically but showed a picture of Wong taken with the silhouette of someone understood to be Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit, the fire-brand leader of Future Forward Party. Thanathorn admitted that he was in Hong Kong recently for a panel discussion and a picture he took with Wong wen tviral. He also admitted that he was inspired to enter politics by the fight for democracy in Hong Kong.

He accused opposition figures of targeting young people and trying to indoctrinate them with “destructive ideas.”

“Joshua Wong visited Thailand and then this businessman-turned-politician went to Hong Kong. Were they up to something? I want to ask whether these young (Thai) people would go out on the streets if called upon one day,” he said.

Thailand is facing “hybrid warfare” by

PHOTO: Future Forward’s Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit and HK pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong

General Apirat, a key supporter of the Prayut government, took aim at politicians and academics who he said are trying to use the situation in southern Thailand for political gains. He singled out Dr. Chalita Bundhuwong from the Kasetsart University, who proposed, during a recent panel discussion in Pattani, that Article 1 of the Constitution which guarantees Thailand as a single and indivisible state, be amended.

General Apirat opined that the proposal has a “hidden motive that would threaten the country’s security”. “Amending Article 1 of the Constitution would pave the way for amendments of other articles concerning the monarchy,” he said without elaborating but vowed to block any attempts to have the article in question amended. The general didn’t outline the means by which he would be able to ‘block’ the process of amendments to Thailand’s constitution.

The army chief also recalled the presence of a group of western diplomats who showed up at Pathumwan police station in April when Thanathorn was summoned to hear a sedition charge against him. He alleged that it was part of a larger plot to internationalise the issue.

The ‘western diplomats’ were staff from foreign embassies stationed in Bangkok whose governments had openly expressed concerns over the sedition charges against the Future Forward leader.

“All these incidents were not coincidental,” he said, referring specifically to Thanathorn’s meeting with Wong, the support shown by western diplomats to the Future Forward leader, the controversial panel discussion in Pattani and the frequent mobilising of anti-military rallies.

“They were orchestrated.”

Gen Apirat also accused some of the “foreign educated” academics with leftist views of being “masterminds” behind many of the anti-government and anti-military activities.

He claimed, without evidence, that they had been working in cahoots with politicians “who harbour ill intentions toward the country’s major establishments, foreign elements, and businessmen born with silver spoons in their mouths” to wage a “hybrid warfare” against the country.

Gen Apirat clarified that a “hybrid war” is a modern form of warfare that employs a range tools and players designed to destabilise and bring about changes in a society.

“They include inciting local unrests, propaganda, foreign interference, cyber-attacks, economic pressure, and discrediting of the executive and judiciary branches.”

“Their ultimate aim is to win elections, seize executive power, and to change the Constitution.”

The General’s lecture was entitled “Our Land from Security Perspectives” and was full of theatre punctuating some of his points with a produced Power Point presentation and military music.

When challenged by the media if a dialogue with these groups of dissenting voices was possible, General Apirat said “I don’t think so. They are bent on pushing their agenda regardless of what we say.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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BBC Thai follows up Australian media claims about Thammanat’s imprisonment in Sydney

The Thaiger & The Nation

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BBC Thai follows up Australian media claims about Thammanat’s imprisonment in Sydney | The Thaiger

The BBC’s Thai affiliate has published notes of an official document obtained from a visit to an Australian court, stating that Manat Bophlom one of the former names used by the Thai Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thammanat Prompao, had served four years in jail for on charge of conspiring to import heroin to Australia.

Early in September, Australia daily newspaper, the well-respected Sydney Morning Herald, broke the news about Manat’s jail term, prompting Thammanat to accuse some Thais and foreign journalists of creating a smear campaign against him.

The Nation reports that Thammanat has consistently denied the allegations made in the articles and threatened to sue the Sydney Morning Herald and media outlets carrying the story.

BBC Thai reported on Tuesday this week that Thammanat had said to the UK’s world service that he was asking Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to contract Australia for a copy of the court verdict.

The story, covered by BBC Thai this week, has received scant coverage in Thai media, so far. Excepting Khaosod and the original report in the BBC Thai-language affiliate, the story is being largely ignored.

Reporters from BBC Thai went to the Downing Street court in Sydney last month to make notes from the court record and collect facts about the case with permission from court officials. They were allowed to use their laptop, but prohibited from photo-copying the document, according to BBC Thai.

The documents stated that ‘Manat’ was arrested by Australian police on April 15, 1993 at a guest room in Palage Hotel near Bondi beach. together with three persons including a Thai and two Australians, according to a report in The Nation.

The court record indicates that ‘Manat Bophlom’ had admitted to the charge of conspiring to import a commercial quantity of heroin to Australia on November 15, 1993. The presiding judge handed down the verdict on March 31, 1994 and sentencing ‘Manat’ to six years in jail. The court said he would be eligible for release after serving at least four years of his sentence.

‘Manat’ was deported from Australia after being imprisoned for four years in Sydney, according to the BBC Thai report.

BBC Thai cited that Thammanat said to BBC Thai via telephone on October 4, 2019 that he did not plead guilty to the charge, but instead asked for negotiations between his attorney and the court.

He said he had not been involved in drug smuggling. He said at the time of his arrest, he did not have much experience or enough money to fight the charge, BBC Thai quoted him as saying.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Pro-democracy activist released on bail pending charges over ‘innocent’ post

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Pro-democracy activist released on bail pending charges over ‘innocent’ post | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Khaosod English and The Nation

The Criminal Court yesterday released political activist Karn Ponpraphan on bail of 100,000 baht, whilst setting conditions that he refrain from posting political messages on social media.

25 year old Karn was arrested earlier yesterday by Technology Crime Suppression Division officials, who showed up at his home on Phaholyothin Road in Bangkok for posting on Facebook messages that allegedly violated Section 14 of the Computer Crimes Act.

Karn was taken to a police station and charged with violating the cybercrime law. If found guilty he faces five years in jail.

Karn’s lawyer stated that his client had posted historical comments that had nothing to do with the Thai monarchy. He also stressed that Karn’s writing never mentioned the Thai monarchy in any way and disputed speculation that Karn was criticising recent traffic woes in Bangkok allegedly caused by a royal motorcade.

The activist, who has previously participated in pro-democracy rallies calling for elections, says he will fight the case because he believed he had been accused of serious allegations for an “innocent post”.

Meanwhile, a senior government official claims five more people could be arrested in connection with “inappropriate” online comments about the Thai monarchy. In an October 2 post, which he has since deleted, Karn made references to the gruesome fates of past European monarchies, though he did not explicitly mention the Thai Royal Family.

Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan said he had been informed by the digital economy ministry that five more people of interest could be involved with “offensive comments on social media”. His comments came just hours after Karn Pongpraphapan was charged.

SOURCE: The Nation

Pro-democracy activist released on bail pending charges over ‘innocent’ post | News by The Thaiger

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