C

Chuwit case to be ruled on after 12 years

B

Do all Thai roads lead to Singapore?

A

On Thaksin’s Birthday

D

The withering of Article 44

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How many died in Thai drug purges?

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Changing the Diapers of Politics

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The arrest of Kamronwit in Japan

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Junta gives up on reform of the police

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Dig happiness out of the poor

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5 Years Ago: Thaksin kids withdraw billions

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Can Prayuth really not do it?

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From Manager, August 9, 2015
On a hand: “This issue is questioned about by the public. So, can or can’t, it needs to have an answer in response to the public. There are two answers: to strip or not strip. There is no other solution and no need to be silent about this issue. Big Tok” [nickname of Gen. Paibul Khumchaya, Justice Minister]
The man in the cartoon is PM Prayuth
Caption: This quote slaps someone’s face.

[Refers to the apparent inability of PM Prayuth to strip Thaksin of his police rank. The junta openly called for Thaksin to be stripped of his rank after Thaksin blamed the Privy Council for ordering the military to stage the two recent coups.
Despite the junta supposed absolute power, the police have refused to expedite the stripping of Thaksin’s rank, throwing up roadblock after roadblock.
Recently, PM Prayuth tasked Gen. Paibul Khumchaya, Justice Minister, to carry out the stripping of Thaksin’s rank.
Gen. Paibul’s public order (quoted above), challenging the police to strip Thaksin of his rank, smacks of desperation and the limits of the junta’s power to move Thailand’s entrenchment and politicized bureaucracy. The cartoonist shows the symbol of anti-Thaksin opposition (the hand clapper) smacking Prayuth’s face. His failure to follow through on this public pronouncements to strip Thaksin of his rank is an indictment of the coup plotters and their failure to be able to follow through on their stated actions.]

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11 Years Ago: Thaksin firms crush censure debate accusations with billion baht lawsuit

Thaksin firms try to crush censure debate accusations with billion baht lawsuit

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2 Years Ago: New York Times corrects opinion article about Thailand

New York Times corrects opinion article about Thailand

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10 Years Ago: Thaksin Allies Try to Take Over Matichon & the Bangkok Post

Thaksin Allies Try to Take Over Matichon and the Bangkok Post

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Rubber bullets? But why did people die?

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From Thairath, August 6, 2015
Title: He is a special person for a special investigation
The woman is Suwana Suwannajutha, DSI chief
On paper held by Suwanna: Using rubber bullets in this area
On a hooded man’s shirt: Order to kill people
On paper in front of him: Using rubber bullets in this area
Phi Nooring: Hundreds of thousands of real bullets were brought out.
A mouse: Confess with BBC
A man laying down: Rubber bullets? But why did people die?
On a man’s shirt: We love democracy.
On a sign: Ratchaprasong

[Refers to a news spread in the social media that the DSI chief said that rubber bullets were ordered to be used by former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government during clearing of the Red shirt rally in 2010.
This caused great controversy because of the knowledge that the military used live rounds (and even put up signs in the area to this effect). Suwana quickly denied she made the statement about rubber bullets.]

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Can’t escape karma, but might be able to delay it

150805manager

From Manager, August 5, 2015
Left: Do the bad thing
Right: Get the bad thing in return
On the top: Do the good thing, get the good thing in return
Chonsawat: I extended it for 16 years… isn’t it great?
Caption: Karma… can’t escape, but maybe extend the time.

[Refers to a politician Chonsawat Asavahame who was jailed for charged for fraud during 1999 municipal election in Samut Prakan province.
Only this year have all the appeals been exhausted and Chonsawat’s sentence upheld.
The Asavahame is one of the regional kingpin families in Thailand that run their areas as virtually its own country.]

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“Unrelated” suicide vest shown during a junta broadcast, police warn people not to share the photo

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Above: Photo of “unrelated” suicide vest shown during a junta broadcast announcing an arrest in the recent Bangkok bombings

Thai junta broadcast unrelated suicide vest picture – The Nation, August 30, 2015
Thailand’s junta came under scrutiny Sunday after mistakenly showing an unrelated picture of a suicide vest during a nationally televised broadcast announcing the arrest of a foreign man in connection with last week’s deadly Bangkok shrine bombing.
In an embarrassing u-turn officials later said the vest was not among the items found at the suspect’s flat and warned people not to share the shot online.
…”The picture has nothing to do with the bombing. It is not official,” police wrote on their Twitter account @PoliceSpokesmen.
“We would like to ask people who published that picture to stop their actions because it might bring concern to society and it could be in breach of computer legislation,” they added in another tweet…

Earlier: Thai-language Newspaper Headlines After the Blast
Earlier: More Newspaper Headlines from After the Blast
Earlier: Days 1, 2 & 3: Bangkok Bombings
Earlier: Days 4 & 5: Clues Emerge
Earlier: On the Trail of the Bomber
Earlier: Suspects and Theories
Earlier: Phone data leads to bomb arrest

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Phone data leads to bomb arrest

Phone data leads to bomb arrest – Bangkok Post, August 30, 2015
…A police source close to the investigation said the arrest of the foreign man, who is believed to be Turkish, came after investigators spent more than a week sifting through every mobile phone call made within the vicinity of the shrine around the time of the bombing on Aug 17.
He said officers managed to identify three Turkish phone numbers which had activated international roaming services and were in use near the blast site…

Earlier: Thai-language Newspaper Headlines After the Blast
Earlier: Days 1, 2 & 3: Bangkok Bombings
Earlier: Days 4 & 5: Clues Emerge
Earlier: On the Trail of the Bomber
Earlier: Suspects and Theories

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7 Years Ago: Thaksin flees to London rather than face corruption charges

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Thaksin Goes Into Exile: Prime Minister Samak vows to defend Thaksin
…When Samak arrived, he complained about the heavy presence of reporters and cameramen. MP Wasit, who is close to Thaksin’s politician sister Yaowapa Wongsawat, was heard saying: “They just want to photograph someone who rarely attends party meetings.”…

Headlines and mugs shots as Thaksin and wife flees the country

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10 Years Ago: Beware! Thais increasingly dissolute

Beware! Thais increasingly dissolute
…Thais tend to be greedy, ill-tempered, deceitful and aggressive, said Buddhist thinker Phra Paisal Visalo of Chaiyaphum’s Wat Pa Sukhato.
…He faulted modern lifestyles, which prize materialism. As a result, more and more youngsters are turning to pornography, coveting expensive gadgets like flashy mobile phones, and engaging in gambling and one-night-stands, Somphong said.
The university lecturer said many female students went gaga over Japanese-style mini-skirts for their college uniforms, a practice that some universities tacitly endorse…

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Ban on campaigning for or against new Thai constitution includes social media

Referendum Campaign Ban Extends to Social Media, Line, SMS – KhoaSod, August 28, 2015
[This article contains one error–the 2007 referendum did not allow open campaigning. The “no” campaign was effectively banned by the military while the “yes” campaign was encouraged. Thaksin strongholds shocked the pundits by turning out a big “no” vote in many provinces despite the ban.]
…The last time a new charter was drafted under the purview of the military, in 2007, it went to a public referendum during which open campaigning was allowed…

Above: From 2007: Graffiti on a sign publicizing the referendum

2007: Constitution Referendum Day

2007: Countdown to Thai referendum begins with arrests and warnings
…The military rulers offered themselves as a better alternative – even promising a free and fair political culture – in helping to guide the country back to democracy.
But on Wednesday, the military-appointed parliament passed a law that raises questions about such assurances as the referendum looms. Any attempt to obstruct the referendum has been made a crime, including a 10-year jail sentence. Violations range from misleading the public about the plebiscite to damaging ballot papers.
These measures come on top of nearly half of Thailand’s 76 provinces still being under martial law since the coup and the government using the military and police to prevent anti-coup groups from the villages heading to Bangkok to protest…

2007: Thailand heads for Guinness record with upcoming referendum

2007: It was around this time that the Red Shirts (in their first action) made a surprise stone-throwing attack on Privy Councillor Prem’s residence. This was a warning to the then-junta as well as the political class that Thaksin still could influence events and that he was not afraid to confront the monarchy if he felt he was treated unfairly.

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Roadblocks to Democracy

150812thairathsia

Title: To pass it, it’s a required capability
Flag on Prayuth’s car: The NCPO’s roadmap
Paper close to the hooded man: Destroy PTP [Pheu Thai Party], Thaksin-Yingluck
Paper held by man in the middle: Reform before election [meaning elections should be postponed]
Paper held by man on the right: Dismiss the constitution
On his shirt: NRC
On the cage: Violate human rights. Detain people who think differently. [referring to the junta detaining protesters]
On the skulls: Case on breaking up the rally in April-May 2010. [referring to the Red Shirt protests in 2010; this implies the Red Shirts will not accept any sort of amnesty that whitewashes those involved in killings during this time]
Phi Nooring: Obstruction caused by whom?
Mouse: Impeded road

[The cartoon shows obstructions the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO or the junta) led by PM Prayuth has to face in order to reform the country as he promised.]

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Please return democracy to the world

150811thairathchai

From Thairath, August 11, 2015
Left: The military shall return democracy to the country for the recovery of the economy.
Middle: The slowdown of the economy is not related to the military, but it’s worldwide slowdown.
Right: Oh, God, please return democracy to the world.

[Refers to the slowdown of the economy in the country. The Red Shirts say that the military is to blame for the slowdown and only a quick return to democracy can fix the economy. After the tells the man that the economic slowdown is related to the world economy, the anti-junta man, believing the Red Shirt mantra that the junta is destroying the economy, assumes the entire world economy must be suffering from a lack of democracy.]

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The Constitution Designed to Fail

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From Manager, August 8, 2015
Thienchay Kiranandana: Now a baby’s head coming out from the vagina.. Mr. Wanchai… Hurry up!! Prepare the warm water for bathing a baby.
The man having a baby is Borwornsak Uwanno
On the sign: Delivery Room Constitution
Caption: In a team of local doctors, there is someone hired [“someone hired” means someone paid or otherwise compromised to impede the work]

[The cartoon compares the launch of a new constitution to giving birth. The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), led by Borwornsak Uwanno, created the charter. NRC spokesman Wanchai Sornsiri, seen pouring acid in the water) said that he personally disagrees with the draft constitution. Thienchay Kiranandana is the NRC chairman.
The cartoonist speculates that a number of powerful people, for various reasons, will sabotage the present draft.
All of this underlines the perception that the entire process of the “constitution designed to fail” is meant to ensure an extension of military rule.]

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Nine Years Ago: Countdown to the 2006 coup

Countdown to the 2006 coup

* Thai Rak Thai “will bring millions to city”

* Random bombings

* Public beatings

* Prem leads army top brass in show of unity

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11 Years Ago: Thaksin’s most famous claim: If You Don’t Like Thaksin You Don’t Love the Country

Thaksin’s most famous claim: If You Don’t Like Thaksin You Don’t Love the Country
At the very height of his powers and hubris, Thaksin made his famous declaration that reporters who criticize him do not love the nation.

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Remembering the Thaksin Years: Hugging farmers

From Thairath, August 27, 2002
Title: Guerrilla strategy
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is hugging farmers and poor people.
On his shirt: Workshop to solve the problems and [the problems of the] poor
On the two men in the background: Academics; NGO

[“Guerrilla strategy” refers to the strategy of the Thai Communist Party to defeat the government by controlling the whole rural mass. The cartoonist shows the strategy of Thaksin, who begins to control the rural mass, by showing his devotion to him. Academics and NGO were derided by Thaksin for their criticism of Thaksin’s methods and his attempts to squash all opposition.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia, The Thaksin Years | 2 Comments

The Royal Thai Police is handicapped by a legacy of corruption, brutality and political influence

Probe of Bangkok bombing recalls bad reputation of police – AP, August 26, 2015
…”If the real motive of this act of terrorism is a matter relating to Uighurs,” Jomdet said in an email interview, “I believe the government will not disclose it.”
Jomdet said the haste with which the crime scene was cleaned up suggests a rush to restore public confidence, possibly at the expense of collecting more evidence. The area was hosed down less than 24 hours after the blast, and the bomb crater was patched over in less than 48…

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Nine years ago: The car bomb targeting Thaksin

The car bomb targeting Thaksin

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Thai-language Newspaper Headlines After the Blast

The way a Thai newspaper covers a big event always reflects the publication’s own character:

ASTV Manager, a rabidly anti-Thaksin newspaper, immediately lays the blame at Thaksin’s feet.

Daily News, a vernacular daily, made a supernatural connection noting the amazing lack of damage to the shrine itself. This “miracle” was widely reported in the Thai-language press, but in English the Thais tend to edit out folksy viewpoints like this.

The Nation’s business daily, Krungthep Turakit, has a much more “just the facts” front page.

The other big vernacular daily, Thairath, known for its bloody front page photos, sensationalizes its headlines with news that bodies were blown apart so completely that the sex of victims cannot be determined.

See below:

1508ASTV

From ASTV, August 18, 2015
At top right corner: Thai Life Insurance [an advertisement]
Main headline: [white] Bomb! Central Bangkok
[yellow] ‘TNT’ hided at Erawan Shrine
Same group suspected and condemned
[white text] ASTV Manager – Cruel! A bomber left a bomb at Ratchaprasong intersection where the Erawan Shrine located at 7 pm. Police chief said it’s ‘TNT’ left by someone. The government set up a team to investigate the place and send the injured people to the hospital. The police have checked and try to identify a suspect but have not yet confirmed a cause for the bomb. It could be done by the same group whom lost the benefit and wanted to destroy the country and don’t allow Thais to be happy. [referring to Thaksin] The police set up a security checkpoint to hunt the suspect. Meanwhile, the Red Shirt media knows about this incident in advance. It warned their members on 13 Aug. Read more page 4 [refers to a Facebook post by a Red Shirt who warned of a dangerous event. Police questioned the person and said he had no connection to the bombings.]
Black headlines: Innocent people, 16 died and a hundred injured
Thai-Chinese-tourists
Hospitals in the city join hands to help
Headline in a black box: Bangkok ordered to close schools
Mall-Bank-Stockmarket still open
On the map: Bomb at Ratchaprasong intersection
Initially, 16 died and 81 injured as of 21.45 hours.

1508DailyNews

From Daily News, August 19, 2015
Main headline: [white] Hunt after a foreign suspect bomber
Surprised at the supernatural power of the Erawan shrine
The shrine is safe-death toll reaches 19.
Inside a box: The police have a suspect and are now hunting a foreign bomber. A CCTV captured a moment of delivering a TNT bomb for an explosion at Ratchaprasong intersection. This caused at least 19 died and 111 injured both Thai and foreign tourists. It’s surprising that the Erawan Shrine wasn’t destroyed by the bomb. Meanwhile, the government expressed their condolences.
Pink headline in the middle: Rumor, Prayuth’s 3rd cabinet submitted
[Refers to a reshuffle of the cabinet aims to solve a country’s economic problems.]
Black headline on the mid-left: Awesome Thai students win a gold at the student world labor.
Black headline on the mid-right: Within this week, Big Tok is expected to be new army chief.
[Refers to the General Paibul Khumchaya, one of candidates to be the new army chief.]
Headline in a pink box: [white] Thai tattoo-eyebrow tattoo
Be careful of illness
A doctor says it can lead to HIV, B-C virus
A doctor warns people about eyebrow and Thai tattoo.
Headline in a pink box at the bottom-left: Chuwong’s family ask Dr. Pornthip for help to disclose the case
Somyot orders Prawut to investigate
The family still questions so they ask Dr. Pornthep to help
[Refers to the murder case of billionaire contractor Chuwong Sae Tang. Pol. Gen Somyot assigned Assistant national police chief Prawut Thawornsiri to investigate the death of Chuwong. Meanwhile, his family also asked Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand to help for investigate this case as well. She is know to fearlessly report the forensic results of cases when local police attempt to cover things up.]

1508KrungthepTurakit

From Krungtehp Turakit, August 18, 2015
Main headline: [red] Bomb blast at Ratchaprasong intersection
[Top white] 15 dead and many injured–PM sets up a war room to monitor the situation
[below white] ‘TNT’ weight 5 kg. was found
Thai Red Cross call for blood donation
‘Prawit’ says the bomb aims to destroy economy-tourism.
Read more in page 4
Close to the map: An explosion at Ratchaprasong intersection
17 Aug 2558 (2015)
19.00hr.
Headline at the bottom left: Inject 1.6 trillion baht to revive the economy in the second half of the year
Headline at the bottom right: BOT [Bank of Thailand] is ready to launch measures dealing with the world financial market crisis.

1508Thairath

From Thairath, August 19, 2015
Main headline: Blast at the center of Bangkok
Bomb at Ratchaprasong intersection
TNT hided at Erawan shrine
Big Pom order to hunt for the bomber
117 injured
A police spokesman says the bomb at Erawan shrine at Ratchaprasong intersection caused 19 dead, most of them are likely Chinese. The bomb explodes all bodies which makes it difficult to identify the sex [of the victim]. Read more in page 10.
Headline at top left: The Crown Prince thanks the people [Refers to a card by the Crown Prince to thank Thai people for joining the ‘Bike for Mom’ event.]
He made a card and wrote a message to people
The Crown Prince gave a card to thank people.
Headline in a green box on the left: Arrest more members of U-Fun
The owner of a famous restaurant
And a cosmetic doctor – TV anchor
[Refers to a Ufun scheme which is alleged to be a pyramid and money laundering scam.]
Headline in a green box in the middle: ‘Thawon’ discloses
Silent coup d’etat
[Refers to Thaworn Senniam, a former politician, who criticized the establishment of a committee on a reform and reconciliation mentioned in the draft constitution. This raises a concern that the committee could be a new power to counterbalance the government.]
Headline in a green box on the right: Transfer to P. to investigate
Reveal someone
Ends Chuwong’s case
[Refers to the murder case of billionaire contractor Chuwong Sae Tang. Pol. Gen. Somyot assigned Assistant national police chief Prawut Thawornsiri to investigate the death of Chuwong.]

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“Operation Lock Down the City, Raid the Bandits’ Nest” ends without any new leads in bombings

Bangkok Bombing Dragnet Yields 142 Unrelated Arrests – Khaosod, August 25, 2015
…On Friday, four days after an explosion at the Erawan Shrine killed 20 people, police announced with much fanfare the beginning of “Operation Lock Down the City, Raid the Bandits’ Nests,” with the objective of “X-raying” potential residences that might hold clues leading to the bomber and his possible “network.”
On Sunday, one day before the bombastically named operation ended, a ceremony formally launching its show of force began with a parade of soldiers and police leading out from Royal Plaza in the Dusit district, complete with speeches, mounted cavalry and motorized convoys…

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122 Years Ago: The Franco-Siamese War

440px-Franco-Siamese_War_Cartoon

The Franco-Siamese War

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Nine Years Ago: Thaksin Escapes Assassination Attempt

Thaksin Escapes Car Bomb

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4 Years Ago: Why did the Pheu Thai rush to alter the constitution?

Why did the Pheu Thai rush to alter the constitution?

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9 Years Ago: Thaksin’s public beatings

Thaksin’s public beatings

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8 Years Ago: “Black herbal toothpaste”

“Black herbal toothpaste”

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Modern Siamese

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Temple-style paintings of people in modern settings

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Anti-Dhammakaya protest in Hat Yai as monks block streets

Smooth Hat Yai alms-giving ceremony

Photos: Anti-Dhammakaya protest in Hat Yai as monks block streets

Earlier: Thaksin’s Temple: Dhammakaya

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Suspects and Theories

Earlier: On the Trail of the Bomber
Earlier: Days 4 & 5: Clues Emerge
Earlier: Days 1, 2 & 3: Bangkok Bombings

Bangkok blast: Thaksin’s son doubles reward for hunt of suspect
[This is damage control for Thaksin and his cause. No claim of responsibility for the blast will make the recent attacks look increasing like a Thai domestic terrorist event as both separatists in the Thai Deep South and political intimidation bombings in Bangkok rarely include claims of responsibility. Some have already tried to make comparisons to the sloppy Red Shirt “Valentine’s Day present for Thaksin” bombings at the courts earlier this year and the later bombs at Siam Paragon.
However, the scale, location and character of the bombings are well outside of the norms for a domestic Thai event. Authorities would thus be looking at an international connection.]

Poso terrorists may be linked with Bangkok bombing
Indonesia’s police are currently looking into whether the East Indonesian Mujahidin (MIT) terrorist group led by Santoso in Poso, Central Sulawesi, has links to the recent deadly bombing in Bangkok, said Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan…

Seen Often on Sathorn 10, Suspect Thought to Use Fake Turkish Passport
…He said the man spoke English, but could not attest to what ability. Withaya said it was many months ago, but he clearly remembers giving two rides to a man he was relatively confident was that seen in the passport. He verified a media report that his colleague, Nikhom Tantula, was “100 percent sure” it was the same man Nikhom gave upward of 10 rides to during that period. Nikhom was away on a lunch break at the time of the interview, he said…

Police: Suspect may have escaped

Thai police focus on possible ‘Turkish connection’ in shrine bombing manhunt
Police have reportedly been showing a copy of a Turkish passport as they question hotel staff and motorbike taxi drivers in the manhunt for the chief suspect in Bangkok’s worst terrorist atrocity…

The Times: Thai police hunt man named ‘Mohamad Museyin’
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…Mr Nikhom says that he gave a lift to someone resembling the suspect on eight consecutive days in February, always picking him up from the same spot, a taxi rank off Sathorn Road, at 5.30am. “He always ran up in such a hurry, saying, ‘quickly!’” he said. “I’d be doing 80km/h, and he’d want me to go faster. During the journey, he would be on the phone all the time, taking calls and speaking in English, although I didn’t understand what he was saying.”
The man always asked to be taken to a hotel close to Asoke Hospital in central Bangkok — although the police who interviewed Mr Nikhom did not ask for this information. On Wednesday, immigration officials showed him a copy of a passport in the name of Mohamad Museyin. “His hair was different, but I’m pretty sure that it was the same man,” Mr Nikhom said…

Thai Investigators Review New Blast Video

Police launch massive crackdown on crime

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13 Years Ago: Swedish tourist joins KNU ranks

The Nation debunks Post articles–Post stands by its story – August 18, 2002
[All the links to the Post and Nation are long broken, but it was an interesting incident.]

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