Law students at Chiang Mai University cancelled a game night during which they planned to play the card game Patani Colonial Territory, following a visit by a mysterious “officer.”
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) report that a plainclothes “officer,” visited the Faculty of Law and other university administrators on December 26 after a student group announced that they were planning to hold a boardgame night, during which they planned to play “Patani Colonial Territory,” a card game about the colonisation of Patani by Siam.
The officer questioned faculty personnel about whether they had ever seen the card game, and asked for the names of students organising the event. He also asked whether students or members of the public from the southern provinces would be joining the event.
According to TLHR, the officer asked to see CCTV footage relating to the event and made recordings.
Following the incident, the game night was cancelled. Faculty personnel – lawyers, basically– were concerned by the visit because they did not know why the officer was asking for information nor what he would do with it.
Patani Colonial Territory is a card game based on the history of Siam’s colonisation of Patani and appears to challenge the state’s attempts to defeat the insurgency which has been calling for more autonomy in the region.
It was funded by Common School, an organisation under the Progressive Movement Foundation, a non-profit entity founded by members of the now-dissolved Future Forward Party who were banned from politics following the party’s dissolution.
The game has been targeted by military officers, academics and right-wing politicians, who claim that the information it presents is misleading and that it aims to incite people against the state.
In November, security officers raided Life Coffee Slow Bar, a café in Yala’s Bannang Sata district and confiscated the game without presenting a warrant, telling the café owner that material in the game may be illegal. A student hired by the game’s designers was also reported to have been summoned by the police, although the developers said that the student was not involved in conceptualisation or production.
Local media outlet Wartani also reported that “officers” of unknown affiliation were seen in front of the Provincial Electricity Authority office in Bannang Sata giving out leaflets about the game.