Aug 21st, 2015

On the Trail of the Bomber

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[This is a translation of the police presentation showing the route of the suspect to and from the blast site.]

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Top caption (left): Comparison – Picture of the suspect entering the scene.

First picture, top: The suspect was carrying a backpack.
Bottom: Before entering the scene, suspect was holding the plastic bag in his right hand.

Second Picture: The suspect was wearing a backpack.

Top caption (right): Comparison – Picture of the suspect leaving the scene.

Top caption: No backpack [this has been added in English as well]

Bottom caption: After leaving the scene, suspect was holding the same plastic bag in his left hand.

Text at bottom: Picture comparison, while the suspect was entering the scene (look at the suspect who was wearing a yellow tee-shirt, blue medium short pants, black sneakers with red stripe, carrying a blue backpack on his back, holding a white plastic bag in his right hand) and the same suspect while walking out after leaving the scene (notice that the suspect did not carry the blue backpack on his back and changed to hold white plastic bag from his right hand to his left hand.)

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[In order of the arrows from left to right. The direction north is to the left.]
Top left: Erawan Shrine

Bottom Left:

18.37.12 PM The suspect got off a Tuk Tuk (taxi) in front of Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel.

18.38.28 PM The suspect walks toward Erawan Shrine.

Top center:

18.51 PM The suspect entered Erawan Shrine.

18.52.05 PM The suspect took off his backpack, which is thought to have a bomb inside, and left it on a bench inside the Erawan Shrine then walked out of there.

18.56.06 PM After the bomb, the suspect walked pass the Peninsula Hotel, heading for Saladang junction.

18.57.17 PM After the bomb, the suspect took the motorcycle taxi heading to Saladang junction. Source from CCTV at Soi Mahatlek Luang 2.

The suspect passed from Saladang junction and moved into Silom Road.

The suspect passed Saladang-Narathiwas junction.

Soi Silom 9 is the last place where the suspect was spotted.

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CCTV at the entrance of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The tuk-tuk taxi makes a u-turn.

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CCTV at the entrance of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The tuk-tuk taxi stops in front of the hotel while the suspect gets off.

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CCTV at the entrance of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The tuk-tuk taxi stops in front of the hotel while the suspect takes his bag out of the tuk-tuk.

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CCTV at the entrance of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The tuk-tuk taxi leaves the hotel while the suspect walks straight to the Erawan Shrine.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The suspect walks toward the Erawan Shrine by passing the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The suspect walks toward the Erawan Shrine by passing the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel (near the Erawan Shrine). The suspect walks toward the Erawan Shrine by passing the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The suspect walks into the Erawan Shrine.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The suspect walks to the bench inside the Erawan Shrine.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The suspect sits on a bench inside the Erawan Shrine.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The suspect takes off his backpack from his back and places it on the bench.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The suspect stands up after placing the backpack on the bench.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The suspect takes out his cell-phone and takes a photo.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The suspect walk away from the bench.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The suspect walks out from the Erawan Shrine.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel (near the Erawan Shrine). The suspect walks back the same direction.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel (near the Erawan Shrine). The suspect walks back the same direction.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel (near the Erawan Shrine). The suspect walks past in the direction of BTS Rachadamri Station.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The suspect walks past in the direction of BTS Rachadamri Station.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The suspect walks past in the direction of BTS Rachadamri Station.

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CCTV at the front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The suspect walks past in the direction of BTS Rachadamri Station.

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CCTV at the entrance of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The suspect walks past in the direction of BTS Rachadamri Station.

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CCTV at the Skywalk. The moment of the explosion.

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CCTV inside the Erawan Shrine. The moment of the explosion.

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CCTV from the Rama 1 Road. The scene of the explosion.

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CCTV in front of the Peninsula Hotel. The suspect walks toward Silom Road after the explosion.

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Bangkok CCTV in front of Soi Mahatlek Luang 2. The suspect calls a motorcycle taxi and rides to Saladang junction.

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Bangkok CCTV in front of Soi Mahatlek Luang 3. The suspect rode towards Saladang junction.

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CCTV from 185 Condominium before Luang Suan junction. The suspect rode towards Saladang junction.

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“Taiwan Hunts for Shrine Bomber”

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There’s one of these for every major Thai event: San Jose Mercury News headline “Taiwan Hunts for Shrine Bomber”

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More Newspaper Headlines from After the Blast

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From KhaoSod, August 19, 2015
Main headline: A motorcycle taxi driver reveals the suspect speaks English
Bomb again in Sathorn Port-Chinese tourists
Same with the Erawan shrine
Hunting a ‘foreigner’
Related to ‘Uighur’
Death toll rises to 20
The 2nd bomb in Bangkok ‘Pipebomb’ Sathron pier-Chinese tourists. Read more inside.
In green box at the top: Pictures of the Ratchaprasong bomb page 5/Khaosod would like to apologize top the ‘Waroth-Tuwichieng family’ page 2
In blue box: Big Tu 3rd cabinet born
‘Somkid’ comes, ‘ML Auy’ leaves [Refers to Prayuth’s 3rd cabinet. This reshuffle replaced Deputy PM ML Pridiyathorn Devakula (nicknamed Auy) with former finance minister Somkid Jatusripitak.]
In red box: 23 countries afraid of a bomb
Warn their people to travel to Thailand
Tight security control at 6 airports and places popular for foreigners
Scared of the bomb, 23 countries warn their people not to travel to Thailand. Transport Minister raises security level from 3 to 6 at the airport.

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From Thairath, August 19, 2015
Main headline: Second bomb attacks Bangkok
‘Sathorn pier’
Almost kills people
Luckily, it missed the target and felt into the river.
Same with Erawan shrine’s bomb
Hurry hunting a suspect of Ratchaprasong bomb
There is a second bomb attack at Sathorn pier but luckily the bomb felt in the Chaopraya River under Taksin bridge. The CCTV captured the moment of explosion. Read more on page 10.
In a green box at top: Pictures of damages from the bomb at Ratchaprasong intersection p.7
Artist joins “Bike for Mom” p.31
In a green box mid-left: A broker questioned again [Refers to an investigation of the murder case of billionaire contractor Chuwong Sae Tang.]
In green box on right: Submitted: Tu’s 3rd cabinet. [Refers to the reshuffle of Prayuth’s cabinet. Prayuth’s nickname is Tu.]
In green box on the bottom-left: Stab ex-husband 13 wounds
Disturb an ex-wife and her new husband
Angry stab to death

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From Daily News, August 20, 2015
Main headline: A motorcycle taxi driver says sending the bomb suspect
Get off at Narathiwat Rd.,
Police chief says Thai people involved
Pink box: Thienchay sets on 6 Sep
Vote the draft constitution
Already submitted
Prayuth’s 3rd cabinet
[Refers to the submission of the draft constitution by Thienchay Kiranandana, a head of the National Reform committee. Meanwhile, the list of new Prayuth’s cabinet has already submitted to the King for approval.]
Pink box on the right: A woman whom received stocks
Afraid to be hunted
Meets the police
To provide more information
[Refers to an investigation of the murder case of billionaire contractor Chuwong Sae Tang. A woman received many of Chuwong shares in his company.]
Pink box at bottom-left: Burning a property in dispute [referring to arson]
Sex drug and obesity drugs [involved]

Posted in Terrorism, Thai-language Newspaper Headlines | Leave a comment

Weekly News Magazines, August 21-28, 2015

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From Matichon Weekly, August 21-27, 2015
Main cover reads: Why?
[white] Phra Phrom
In yellow bubble on the left: Come with a bomb
Clip-bomb
Clip-boom
Power of social media
[Refers to an explosion at a Hindu famous shrine Erawan which has a four-faces Phra Phrom or Brahma, a Hindu God. On the left, there are clips showing about the bombing suspect which shared through social media.]

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From Nation Weekend, August 21, 2015
Main cover reads: 2nd Prayuth’s cabinet team
Dream team ‘Somkid’ spurring the economy
Recover the economy–strengthen confidence
The man is PM Prayuth
[Refers to Prayuth’s new cabinet. He appointed former financial minister Somkid Jatusripitak to be in charge of spurring economic growth of the country. The words ‘StrongerTogether’ comes from the post-bombing message after the bomb at Ratchaprasong intersection. Here, it refers to Somkid, who is a past Thaksin ally, joining forces with the junta cabinet.]

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From Lokwannee, August 24, 2015
Main cover reads:  Phra Phrom
He sees….
Who did it?

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From Manager Weekly, August 22-28, 2015
On the cover is the police sketch of the bombing suspect.
Bottom left: Disclose a secret of
[pink] ‘Hiso Manfa’
This woman is so special
[Refers to the celebrity “Manfa” was rumored to be the girlfriend Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit. A new rumor has her dating popular actor Son-yuke.]
Bottom right: Jailed New dream team
[red] ‘Somkid’
Good drug or just day-dreaming of ‘Big Tu’
The man is Somkid Jatusripitak
[Refers to Prayuth’s new cabinet. He appointed former financial minister Somkid Jatusripitak as a head of economic team aiming to spur the economic growth of the country. The article question whether junta-chief Prayuth can really benefit from former ally Somkid being on his team.]

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Clues Emerge

Day Five, August 21, 2015

Dragnet scooping up foreigners slightly looking like Bangkok bomber

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Above: Amex cancels its unfortunately named “Destination of Happiness” event

Day Four, August 20, 2015

Tuk-Tuk Driver Who Took Bomber to Shrine Steps Forward

Bangkok bomb: Two suspects hand themselves in

Leaked Police Report Tracks Lead Suspect Before, After Bombing

Earlier: August 17-19, 2015 Bangkok Bombings

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Muay Thai fighters in Thailand are being intentionally poisoned

Muay Thai fighters in Thailand are being intentionally poisoned – Vice, August 19, 2015
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…The intentional poisoning of Muay Thai fighters in Thailand is disturbingly common, so widespread, in fact, that the recently retired Muay Thai star Pornsanae Sitmonchai described it as the most dangerous aspect of fighting Muay Thai today. The severity of poisoning ranges from relatively innocuous to potentially lethal. Many incidences of poisoning end up with the fighter being hospitalized, having to take weeks or months to make a full recovery.
The crime is almost always money-driven. Generally speaking, the perpetrator will poison the fighter favored to win, thus getting better odds when betting on the opponent. Many poisoners time their attacks in hopes of it taking effect during the fight, when the boxer has already started the bout and cannot back out or cancel the fight. Perpetrators have to be close to the fighter, at least in a physical sense, to administer the poison. Sometimes the victim knows the perpetrator well; other times he’s just someone in the community, often a gambler working independently or for someone more powerful…

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11 Years Ago: It takes an act of courage to criticize Thaksin and his family empire

It takes an act of courage to criticize Thaksin and his family empire

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Bangkok Bombings

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Above: August 18, 2015 – Police approach the cordoned-off blast site at Rajaprasong.

Day Three: August 19, 2015

Bangkok Bombing: ‘Facebook Prophet’ Meets With Police
…Pongpob confirmed he is indeed Facebook user “Wichawate Pornpromraksa,” which posted a status on Thursday warning people in Bangkok to beware of unspecified incident between Friday and Tuesday…

Prime Minister Prayuth urges bombers who attacked Bangkok this week to turn themselves in for their own safety, saying, otherwise, they could be killed

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Have you seen this person?

Sukhumvit Road Reopens After BTS Nana Bomb Scare

Police seal off traffic lanes on Sukhumvit road from Soi 7-9 as a suspicious object was found placed in the area

Somyot says Ratchaprasong bomber aided by some Thais
…Security at China Town was boosted with patrol police and soldiers conducted foot patrol along the road to ensure safety for tourists.
He said it was impossible for a foreigner to come into Bangkok and would able to know where to go and how to ride motorcycle across the bridge…

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Special bomb use indicates different suspect group
[This report attempts to add to the mystique of the Erawan Shrine.]
…Buildings on the periphery of the blast such as the Police General Hospital, Gaysorn Plaza and the Hyatt Erawan Hote, some 50-100 metres away, suffered glass damage from debris and the force of the explosion.
But surprisingly, the main Erawan Shrine which sits only five metres from the deadly explosion site, suffered only slight damage.

Day Two: August 18, 2015

Myanmar citizens warned to avoid 10 Bangkok danger zones
…The areas specified were the intersections at Ratchaprasong, Pathuwan, Sala Daeng, Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra, and Tuek Chai; Khao San Road, Victory Monument, Benjasiri Park, Soi Thong Lor and Sukhumvit Road…
23 nations issue Thailand travel advisories

More than 900,000 Brits visit Thailand even though it’s regarded as dangerous

Second bomb is similar to Ratchaprasong bomb

Hong Kong warns its residents to avoid travel to Bangkok

Video that seems to show the bombing suspect leaving a backpack at the Rajaprasong blast site

Attack on tourist sites continues: Powerful bomb thrown at pier beneath the Taksin bridge
…Witnesses near the bridge said hundreds of small pellets were strewn into all directions from the explosion which they said was a pipe bomb…

BREAKING VIDEO Second blast targets Sathorn pier

Bomb tossed at Sathorn pier, no injuries

Bangkok Bombing: Junta Chairman Says He Was Misquoted by AFP

Thai PBS: “Prayut condemns bomb attacker a bad guy”

Sky News: Thai Bombs Try To ‘Bend Country Out Of Shape’

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Above: August 18, 2015 – Blast site at Rajaprasong.

Day One: August 17, 2015

Slate: Bombing in Bangkok Is Just One Sign of Thailand’s Fragile, Dangerous Political Situation

Breitbart: Thailand Bombing: Islamic Separatists Rarely Claim Credit, Linked to ISIS/Al Qaeda

Video 1 (from across the street)
Video 2 (dashcam)
Video 3 (dashcam)
Video 4 (walking on the skybridge)

Death toll rises to 19: Erawan centre

Update: 18 killed, 117 hurt as bomb blast rocks Bangkok tourist attraction

Thai PBS: Death toll from bomb explosion at Rajprasong intersection rose to 16 with seven of them died at the scene of the blast

Update: 16 killed, 81 hurt as bomb blast rocks Bangkok tourist attraction

Police chief says 16 killed in blast

The Independent: Tourists ‘targeted’ as 27 people killed at Erawan shrine (Later, it was changed to: Bangkok bomb as it happened: Number confirmed dead rises to 19 as tourists ‘targeted’ at Erawan shrine)

The Independent: Bangkok bombing Q&A: How many British travellers are in Thailand? Is it safe to travel to the country?

Scores killed, hurt as bomb blast rocks Bangkok tourist attraction

Two dead as bomb rocks central Bangkok: AFP

Bomb kills at least seven, wounds over 30

Also:

Notable terrorist incidents in Thailand – 1970-2007

More about the area:

Pre-1987: A visit to the old Erawan Hotel

2006: Destruction of the Phra Prom statue

Posted in Terrorism | 8 Comments

The power of Article 44

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From Komchadluek, August 6, 2015
On the bomb: Corruption.
above the lines: Section 44

[This shows PM Prayuth drawing jail bar lines in the sand to combat corruption using the supposedly absolute powers of Article 44. The cartoonist seems to be illustrating that Article 44 is ineffective, either because there are still many centers of Thai power with the ability to resist the junta (such as the police) or that eventually the military will cede power, loose the ability to use Article 44, and everything will be back to normal.]

Earlier: Everyone loves Section 44

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Komchadluek | Leave a comment

8 Years Ago: Constitution Referendum Day

Constitution Referendum Day

Posted in Today in History | Leave a comment

11 Years Ago: Thaksin: Singapore is successful and doesn’t need a strong opposition

11 Years Ago: Thaksin: Singapore is successful and doesn’t need a strong opposition

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11 Years Ago: Thaksin scraps plan to start road pricing in Bangkok

Thaksin scraps plan to start road pricing in Bangkok

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Thai-language political cartoons after the blast

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From Manager, August 18, 2015
If I am not happy
You can’t even hope
To be happy.

[Refers to the explosion at the famous Erawan Shrine located at Ratchaprasong intersection that caused 20 deaths and over 100 injuries.
This cartoon reflects the very Thai understanding of human and political conflict. From the Thai viewpoint, there is a necessity for all sides, right or wrong, to be assuaged or “satisfied.” This is often heard from protest groups who announce that they are completely non-violent, but might be forced to be violent if they are dissatisfied or feel they are treated unfairly.
Thus, Thai people and the Thai state attempt to be friends with all while favoring no side. This is part of Thai foreign policy that goes back to the nineteenth century when colonizers threatened the autonomy of the Siam state.
In the cartoon, the Thai sees the terrorist event, not primarily as a tactical move against an enemy or a political act, but as the result of a force that has become “dissatisfied” and must strike out as a result.]

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From Komchadluek, August 17, 2015
Man: Welcome to the new police chief!
Sign over the door: Faith
[Refers to the appointment of a new police chief who will have to rebuild a trust and faith of the public towards the police. The harsh reality of a situation is often portrayed as a ruined landscape behind a door in Thai editorial cartoons.]

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From Manager, August 18, 2015
Top left: Today, a small community still has no words…
Top right: Only sadness is in the air.
Bottom right: …And a question… when the conflict among people to people will be ended…
Bottom left: R.I.P.

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The dirty restroom of Thai politics

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From Manager, I knew it by Buncha/Karmin, August 3, 2015
Sign at the left: “Politics” [“Thai politics” is sometimes represented as a “dirty restroom”]
Suthep Thaugsuban: Ah… ah… No, you guys cannot poo yet!! I have already told you to wait until all these restrooms are clean!
Man, left ro right: Oh no.. I’m about to poo now; I cannot wait any longer!; Oh no…
Caption: Right after leaving the Buddhist monkhood… Thid [Suthep] has already committed a sin against people who want to poo.

[“Thid” is the title of people who just left the Buddhist monkhood and here “Thid” refers to Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the protest group that led to the overthrow of the Pheu Thai government.
In the cartoon, Suthep Thaugsuban is not allowing the other politicians to use the restrooms, which, in terms of Buddhism, is wrong-doing because Mr. Suthep makes them unhappy. His emergence from the monkhood is perceived as part of a plan to delay a return to civilian rule in politics.]

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History of Thai Prime Ministers–according to the government

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The Thai government “Secretariat of the Cabinet” website has an odd “History of Thai Prime Ministers” section we have pointed out before, but the English-language explanations of why prime ministers enter and leave office have become even more tortured.

Among the notable oddities:

Thaksin’s term ended, not because of a coup, but because of this: “2) State Administration Assembly September 19, 2006”

2006 coup chief General Surayud Chulanont left office because of “Constituation of Kingdomgo Thailand B.E. 2005 when there is appoint went of the new Prime Minister”

Present Prime Minister “Genera [sic] Prayuth Chan-Ocha” arrived in office because of the “General Assembly resolution National”

But on another page one can learn “The present Prime Minister is Miss. Yingluck Shinawatra (aged 43 years old ),the 28 th Prime Minister of Thailand.”

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10 Years Ago: Government Threatens Newspapers Over Runway Cracks Story

Government Threatens Newspapers Over Runway Cracks Story
…The legal threat is a new wave of apparent political pressure that has hit the Bangkok Post over the past few years. The paper is largely owned by the Central Group, which had a showdown with the Transport Ministry over a land-lease contract for its Lat Phrao shopping complex in 2002. The contract extension remains a contentious issue to this day.
Also in 2002, the Central Group fought off a takeover bid by a group of shareholders led by a business figure, a bitter battle that many Bangkok Post reporters thought stemmed from attempted political interference.
Early last year, Bangkok Post reporters decried the murky transfer of its editor Veera Prateep-chaikul, who was known to have been under pressure from the management following news reports critical of the prime minister…

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Trying their best to destroy

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From Thairath, by Sia, August 4, 2015
Caption: The cheering team is trying their best.
Man on left, on his body: Economic problem; Deterioration; Oppose; Boycott
On PM Prayuth’s boxing shorts: Road Map
Men behind PM Prayuth, top to bottom: PDRC; in favor of election [referring to senators]; Reform before election
Hooded figure at top right: Destroy people
Mouse Man: Fight for Thid Thaug and the gang. [“Thid” is a title for people who just left the Buddhist monkhood and here “Thid Thaug” refers to Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the protest group that led to the overthrow of the Pheu Thai government.]
Mouse: Loser style.
[This illustrates the difficulties PM PRayuth is facing amid economic hardships and calls to further delay elections.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

Thaksin tells a group of Red Shirts in Finland that “all democratic advocates” should reject the charter

Thaksin urges ‘no’ for charter – Bangkok Post, August 15, 2015
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has sent a clear signal on the draft charter, urging his supporters to throw it out.
Thaksin told a gathering of red shirts in Finland on Friday that the draft charter was against the will of the majority and said ”all democratic advocates” should reject it…

Posted in 2Bangkok News | 2 Comments

Change the horse

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From Naewna, July 27, 2015
Horse: Even if my leg hurts, but I am still in high-spirited.
Above finger: People want to see the change of cabinet according to the poll.
Caption: Not-knowing your own abilities…

[Refers to pressure on the junta to shuffle the cabinet after the country’s continuing poor economic performance. The horse represents Pridiyathorn Devakula, Deputy PM and head of Prayuth’s economic team, who has bore the brunt of criticism for the nation’s poor economic progress. Thais call a person who helps people get through a crisis “a hero riding a white horse.”]

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Police Chief Threatens Media Over Accusations He Dragged His Feet On Revoking Thaksin’s Rank

150712manager
Above: July 13, 2015, How to resist the junta and do Thaksin’s bidding

For months, outgoing Police Chief Somyot was not only able to resist public junta orders to strip Thaksin of his rank, but he showed his independence by boldly seizing public opinion to lobby for the legalization of casinos.

Legalized gambling is an anathema to the establishment which now holds power in an attempt to halt Thaksin. The junta must have been livid to hear this perennial Thaksin issue coming out of the mouth of the police chief.

The chief’s resistance also demonstrated the limits of the junta’s supposed absolute power. Stripping Thaksin’s rank was just one of a number of areas where once-ambitious junta plans were scaled back in the face of apparent resistance from the entrenched bureaucracy.

Police chief denies he drags his feet on Thaksin’s police rank – thaipbs.or.th, August 13, 2015
The national police chief had denied the allegation that he intentionally dragged his feet in stripping fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of his lieutenant-colonel rank…

No skirting of Thaksin rank revocation – The Nation, August 13, 2015
…Somyot insisted: “I have never been indifferent, nor have I dragged my feet on the revocation of Thaksin’s police rank … If it is an order from the prime minister, I would welcome [his decision, which is] under the framework of law and regulation and be ready to continue the process. I have to admit that there are pressures from society. I am ready to receive criticism, but I’d like them to be in accordance with facts.”
Somyot said certain media had been excessively critical of him, and threatened to sue them if it damaged his reputation…

Posted in 2Bangkok News, Thai Police | Leave a comment

Weekly News Magazines, August 14-21, 2015

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From Nation Weekend, August 14, 2015
Main cover reads: Pom’s brother. People’s fate.
[The man is Gen. Teerachai Nakwanich. This refers to the coming appointment of the new army chief which a competition between PM Prayuth’s brother Gen.Preecha Jan-O-Cha and Gen Prawit Wongsuwan’s close ally Gen.Teerachai Nakwanich. Gen Prawit’s nickname is Pom.]

lookwannee_17 aug

From Lokwannee, August 17, 2015
Main cover reads: Be born… it will be disabled
Not be born… it will still die inside
Small words along belly: Constitution born from the NCPO’s uterus
[Refers to the new draft constitution under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) which now faces a lot of criticism and challenges.]

matichon_14-20 Ag

From Matichon Weekly, August 14-20, 2015
Main cover reads:  Already done… by Pa’s school (transition)
The two army men are Gen. Teerachai Nakwanich [left] Gen.Preecha Jan-O-Cha [right]
The two policemen are Police Chief Pol Gen. Somyos Pumpanmuang [left] Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, Deputy Commissioner General [right]
Near the cartoon at bottom: Transition of the new ‘army chief’ and ‘police chief’ ha ha ha
[Refers to the coming appointment of new army and police chief. All the potential candidates have close tie with General Prem Tinsulanonda and the junta. Gen. Prem is known as Pa meaning papa.]
Top right: Chef Kau Gagga [pink] ‘Komkit Autekkeng’ [black] take a tour to ‘a large copper kettle’ [pink] Ghost Brahman Buddhism
On his picture: Facebook kau gagga by chefHmee
[A column written by a famous social online chef Hmee which related to religion. In Thai, a large copper kettle refers to a hell.]

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From Manager Weekly, August 15-21, 2015
Main cover reads: Brother, you don’t need to do anything [white] I will do it for you. [yellow]
A man in a cover: General Paibul Khumchaya, Minister of Justice
[Refers to an to attempt to strip Thaksin’s police title after there is a long time call for this. However, there is no one who will do it. PM Prayuth has tasked Gen. Paibul to carry out this process and the result of it is expected to be known by this August.]
Top right: “Big Tik” army chief? A most secure candidate for “PaPom-PheeTu”
A man: Gen.Preecha Jan-O-Cha
[Refers to the coming appointment of the new army chief which a competition between PM Prayuth’s brother Gen.Preecha Jan-O-Cha and Gen Prawit Wongsuwan’s close ally Gen. Teerachai Nakwanich. Gen Prawit’s nickname is Pom. In Thai, Pa means papa and Phee is elder brother/sister. In this title, they use those words to show the seniority of Gen Prawit and PM Prayuth.]
Bottom left: Launch a smartphone specs of ‘Jaisongma’
A man: Sek Loso (a rocker)
[Refers to a new smartphone ‘Jaisongma’ launched by Sek. Jaisongma is his famous song meaning as it’s ordered from a heart.]
Bottom right: Special [yellow] Free [red]
Hero who turns his back to alcohol.
‘Golf Fuckinghero’
[Refers to a famous rapper ‘Golf Fuckinghero’ who quit drinking alcohol.]

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Weekly News Magazines, August 7-14, 2015

7-13 aug

From Matichon Weekly, August 7-13, 2015
Main cover reads: ODE TO ROAD MAP map-map

[The man on the cover is Suthep Thaugsuban. Refers to the junta’s road map for reforming the country and returning to democracy. The junta recently has been criticized for having no actual road map and for really wanting to draw out the return to democracy.
Meanwhile, People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep has left the monkhood and it is rumored that he will support the secret junta roadmap to extend the junta’s time in power.
On the cover, “map-map” in Thai is used to imply that there is no real roadmap to reform the country.]

On a top-right corner: Virakarn Musigapong ‘forgiveness’

[Refers to a Red Shirt leader Virakarn who committed suicide. The picture was taken during the funeral.]

8_14 Aug Manager   

From Manager Weekly, August 8-14, 2015
Main cover reads: A guideline for Biking for Mom

[Refers to the ‘Bike for Mom’ event to celebrate the Queen’s 83rd birthday. This event will be conducted throughout the country on August 16, 2015.]

Bottom right (girl with a car): ‘Manfa’ from a woman of ‘Dedpee’ to ‘Son-yuke’

[Refers to the celebrity Manfa who was rumored to be the girlfriend of Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit (also know in the media as ‘Dedpee’ meaning brother). Recently, a new rumor has her dating popular actor Son-yuke.]

Bottom (the man): Jailed ‘Chonsawat’
Stop the legend of ‘Paknum godfather’
Waiting for days to return.

[Refers to famous Samut Prakan politician, Chonsawat Asawahame, who was jailed for 18 months due to malfeasance and intention to violate the law during the 1999 election. The Asawahame family is one of a collection of families that still control areas of the country as their personal political and business fiefdoms.]

nationweekend_7aug

From Nation Weekend, August 7, 2015
Main cover reads: Lonely ‘Golden horse family’

[Refers to famous Samut Prakan politician Chonsawat Asawahame who was jailed for 18 months due to malfeasance and intention to violate the law during the 1999 election. He and his father, former ex-cabinet member in Wattana Asawahame, have the same fate. His father was been sentenced in jail for corruption charges but fled the country. “Asawahame” means “golden horse.”]

Top right: life story
Live as ‘Singha’
Leave as ‘Singha’

[Refers to a Red Shirt leader Virakarn’s son Prachtip Musigapong (whose nickname is Singha) who committed suicide. He is a famous guitarist of the “Sqweez Animal” band.]

1st headline on the left side: Flooding in Myanmar
2nd headline on the left side: Famous monk ‘Luangpo Nan’ helps the farmers to grow rice.]

Lokwannee_10 au

From Lokwannee, August 10, 2015
Main cover reads: Return Happiness
To Suthep
To shutdown (again)
On the billboard: Reform before election
Episode 2

[This sarcastic cover refers to the return of People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep. He announced he would support the junta on a plan to reform the country before having elections. This is seen as a way to prolong junta rule and stall elections.
In Thai, if we combine the yellow letters, it will read “NCPO” (the National Council for Peace and Order, or the junta). This cover implies that there will be no change in Thai political situation soon and the time of reforming the country to forestall elections will be extended.]

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Incorrect Swaddee

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1. Swaddee
2. Swaddee
3. Swaddee
4. Waddeeka
[Refers to the ways to write the word ‘Swaddee’ in Thai for each age group.
A perennial Thai preoccupation is how the younger generation are speaking Thai words incorrectly and sometimes creating new ways of writing it.
The 3rd and 4th are examples of the incorrect writing or speaking of the common greeting “swaddee.”
“Skoy language” is slang used by teenagers. “Skoy” refers to a teenage girl who likes ride on the back of a motorcycle with boys to race.]

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After all these years, the Chuwit/Sukhumvit Square bar raid case will be ruled on in October


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Chuwit and sledgehammer – January 3, 2005
Chuwit billboard: Quash the cheating people, expose the evil people, do not fear the influential!

Sukhumvit Square bar raid judgement in October – Bangkok Post, August 13, 2015
The Supreme Court on Thursday set Oct 15 to give its ruling in the long-running Sukhumvit Square beer bar demolition in 2003, involving 66 defendants including former Rak Thailand Party leader Chuvit Kamolvisit…

12 Years Ago: Chuwit and the Massage Parlour Scandal
[Chuwit burst into public consciousness with the Sukumwit Square demolition, a war of words with police over bribes, and an alleged kidnapping.]
…Apparently, the people who lost face did not get the money. Either that or the money was not enough. When Chuwit came out with his bribery allegations, even more face and more money was lost. Gen Sant must have felt rather awkward denying that his officers were accepting bribes while at the same time transferring scores of them from their precincts. He lost face and he didn’t get paid for it…

12 Years Ago: Chuwit Smashes Sukumvit Soi 10


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

The sign reads: Vote Chuwit No. 5 – Politics is like a diaper – the more you change, the better [you get] – Rak Prathed Thai Party – Party list – Every province nationwide

4 Years Ago: Seizure of Chuwit’s Bt3.4 million related to prostitution ring

4 Years Ago: Election success takes Chuwit by surprise

3 Years Ago: Chuwit leads netizens’ fury over return of Chalerm’s son to police service

2 Years Ago: Chuwit taunts the Demcorats

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HQ of Myanmar’s ruling party occupied by “security forces” amid battle for leadership

USDP-run newspaper stops publishing
…The daily was regarded as mouthpieces for Thura Shwe Mann, who was dismissed as the party’s chairman on Thursday.
Yamin Tin, editor-in-charge of the daily, confirmed that the publication has stopped.
“The publications of Leader Journal and the Union Daily run by the party were stopped,” Yamin Tin said. “We don’t have any further information. I can’t say if is related to the removal of the party chairman…”

Mini coup ousts Shwe Mann

Powerful Myanmar ruling party chairman Shwe Mann ousted

“A strange event:” lock down at the headquarters of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP)
…“The office told me by phone that police were deployed in front of the USDP office so I went there. Other reporters were also found to be waiting there. Rumour has it that some party members have been detained. But we could not confirm it,” said a reporter.
While the office gate was closed, some cars were found trying to send meals to the office. But the meals were sent through the security members…

Myanmar police invade ruling party HQ

UPDATED: Shwe Mann Removed as Ruling Party Chairman Amid Midnight Reshuffle
…The relationship between the Burmese military and Shwe Mann has reportedly soured.
A petition circulating last month, which collected 1,700 signatures from the parliamentary speaker’s Naypyidaw constituency of Zayarthiri, called for his impeachment, claiming he violated the law by not respecting the military’s role in Parliament…

Tensions Mount at Myanmar Ruling Party Headquarters

Burmese forces surround ruling party headquarters and confine MPs – report
…The constitution reserves 25% of seats in parliament for unelected military officers. Making changes to the constitution requires the support of at least 75% of lawmakers, giving the military an effective veto. A proposed amendment that would have seen the threshold of support lowered to 70% failed, as expected, in a June vote.
Shwe Mann has publicly welcomed the idea of working closely with Aung San Suu Kyi and has set himself up in opposition to the still powerful army on key issues – including the constitutional reform debates that have centred on reducing the military’s political power.

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Do all Thai roads lead to Singapore?


One Year Ago: Thai editorial cartoon: Ordered to report only happy news!

Thai Junta chief and Prime Minister Prayuth was reportedly impressed by the progress and order of Singapore during a recent trip there, even commenting that Thailand would be better off if its media followed the Singaporean model. This model includes tight censorship that puts the press at the behest of government initiatives to develop the nation.

Thais have long been impressed by the example of Singapore, a nation-state that exemplifies values Thais have traditionally held dear–order, unity, progress and incorruptibility.

Freedom of speech, assumed to be every society’s highest value by the Westerner, is subsumed in Thai culture by an impulse to cater to those of higher or lower rank and monitor one’s actions and speech so as not to cause offense. Unity, or making the village of one mind, is the highest value. Political ruptures and disagreements are all put down to an impolite lack of unity. Democracy is defined as a unity of opinion and the giving up of one’s viewpoint to cooperate with the whole.

The Thai state is a laissez faire market where greedy competition overwhelms any pretense at impartiality, strong arm tactics rule, and no law ever stands for long. Thais who can afford to travel overseas are stunned by the state of development of Singapore (and even Malaysia) compared to chaotic Thailand.

Prayuth’s praise of Singapore is ironic considering the junta’s campaign to eliminate Thaksin influence from politics. Thaksin was also enamored of the Singaporean model and its obvious success. Politicians in his party even vowed to dole out government services first to areas that voted for his party mimicking the Singaporean tact of prioritizing benefits to areas that voted for the ruling party.

It was this fear of a one-party state dominated by Thaksin and his family that drove the Thai establishment’s continual moves to dislodge from power the parties that Thaksin controlled.

The West is always at a loss to describe the success of a state that does not adhere to its expectations for humanity. Singapore’s restricted media, harsh libel laws, one-party rule, and constrained election procedures are supposed to produce the repression and torpor of a third world dictatorship. However, it somehow produces one of humanity’s great success stories in terms of a successful multi-cultural free market boom town.

It could be that this success is due to Singapore being less a nation than a strategically placed city.

Cities are always best developed under close control of a benevolent government and Singapore’s bureaucracy is tuned to granular optimization of human activity. Singapore’s location at an intersection of world trade routes probably guarantees that whatever state exists there would be a key location in world commerce. Add to that Lee Kuan Yew and his family–perhaps a singular phenomenon of incorruptibility (particularly for the Chinese world)–and we have the miracle of Singapore.

Singapore will continue to be a touchstone for Thais. Singapore is a regional neighbor that seems to validate Thai beliefs about the value of unity for the sake of progress. Thailand, after a decade of political turmoil, continues to search for a formula to create stability and emerge with its traditional values and royal systems in place. Western nations advising “quick elections” miss both the motivations that guide Thai values and the fears of Thaksin absolute rule that stoked one political rupture after another.

The Thai junta-written charter and the machinations that will surround its promulgation will only imperfectly reflect the Singaporean model. With the exception of the inheritance tax, most junta “reforms” have simply been strong-arm tactics to step in where the police are unwilling to enforce local laws. Once the military withdraws, all of these “reforms” will evaporate.

The new charter will reflect the supremacy of the traditional Thai balance of powers. This means non-elected forces will retain the ability to counterbalance elected governments with procedural roadblocks and retrograde reforms designed to prevent the elected, assumed to be self-serving and greedy, from attempting to monopolize power again.

It will take another generation for any real sense of good governance to emerge in the Thai world. What such future governance would look like is the real question. Thai deference for authority and the eschewing of freedom of speech in favor of unity will certainly not go away.

Thailand has already demonstrated its propensity and desire for monolithic governments since the 1997 Thai charter first brought Thaksin and his political clique to power. The present junta continues to float rumors for the necessity of a national unity government, encompassing all parties, after the next election.

So the impulse on both sides is still towards the Singaporean model in the name of development, order, and unity. However, the Thai realization of this model would not be cloaked in incorruptibility nor impartiality–both post-coup governments and Thaksin’s elected proxy parties have demonstrated that. All of these governments–military or elected–have ruled by emphasizing overwhelming force and menace towards those who resist them.

So while Westerners expect quick elections and free speech to solve all of Thailand’s problems, the nation will continue to gravitate towards a wildly imperfect version of the Singaporean model.

2Bangkok Editor Ron Morris’ book, The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations, is available in the Kindle Store.

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Will help or hurt?

150723thairathsia

From Thairath, July 23, 2015
Title: Will help or hurt?
On a shirt: NHRC (new) [a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was selected to replace the old NHRC due to their terms expiring]
Phi Nooring: Don’t make situation become worse.
A mouse: Just think about them as a human.
Under a cage: Violated the human rights by the state’s power [these are people who the junta have stopped from expressing their anti-coup opinions]

[The cartoon implies that the new National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should help improve human rights in the country by assisting those who are protesting the coup. New appointees to the NHRC have been criticized for being “royalists” who support lese majeste penalties.]

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Please switch on the lights all over the country

150730tharathsia

From Thairath, by Sia, July 30, 2015
Caption: Please click on the lights all over the country. [The writer uses the word “click” for “switch.” “Switch on the light” means to show that the organization is incorruptible.]
The man holding the switch is Sermsakul Kraikeaw, current chief of the PEA-The Provincial Electricity Authority. Near the switchboard: Click!
On his arm-band: The Chief
On his coattail: PEA
Man holding a sign: Great services
Woman holding a sign: No corruption
Words on Thailand map: PEA is translucent. [This means that the PEA organization is clear and can withstand a corruption examination.]
Mouse Man: This deserves the pressing of the “Like” button [refers to LIKE on Facebook which mean the organizations perceived as having no corruption receive positive feedback from Thai people]
Mouse: Organizational Model.

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Fighting for the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Army

150812komchadluek

From Komchadluek, August 12, 2015
Above the bench: Fighting for the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
[Literally it is something like “Contend over the position – Commander-in-Chief of the Army”]

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Soon, every country will have a Songkran: Sinchon Water Gun Festival

Seoul is having the most epic water fight you could possibly imagine – koreaboo.com, August 11, 2015

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