Lao human rights activist killed in Vientiane by unidentified gunman

Anousa “Jack” Luangsuphom picture courtesy of Bangkok Post.

A 24 year old Lao human rights activist, Anousa “Jack” Luangsuphom, was shot and killed in Vientiane by an unidentified gunman, as reported by Radio Free Asia. Luangsuphom was the administrator of the Kub Kluen Duay Keyboard (Driven By Keyboard) Facebook group, which exposed and condemned human rights abuses in Laos while advocating for an end to one-party rule. The fatal shooting was captured on security footage and shared on the group’s Facebook page.

The incident occurred at 10.26pm on Saturday within the After School Chocolate & Bar shop situated in the Chanthabury district of the Lao capital city. The victim was declared dead at a nearby hospital by 4am on Sunday. The security video reveals the sequence of events leading up to the shooting, including a man wearing a cap making enquiries at the back door of the shop before opening fire on Luangsuphom, reported Bangkok Post.

No arrests have been made in connection with the killing. Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Deputy Asia Director, Phil Robertson, called on the Lao government to investigate the incident and disclose the findings to the public.

Robertson, who refrained from making any accusations regarding who was responsible for the murder, said…

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“If they don’t do anything, people will think that state officials have a connection with the case.”

Critics of the government have faced serious consequences in the past, including abductions and enforced disappearances, as noted by Robertson.

A notable case involves Sombath Somphone, who disappeared in 2012 after being apprehended at a police checkpoint and forcefully taken away in a white truck. He has not been seen since.

HRW has also reported on the case of Od Sayavong, a Lao activist residing in Bangkok, who went missing in August 2019. Lao government officials have denied any knowledge of both disappearances.

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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