Apr 30th, 2009

Pipe delivery

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Pipe delivery – April 30, 2009

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Want to play monk? Fork over $700

Want to play monk? Fork over $700Global Post, April 30, 2009
Drawing Buddhism-curious foreigners to a Thai temple through Facebook…
[Thanks to Nils for pointing this out.]

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Thai Media Project – April 2009

More: Unlocking
the Thai world: Thai-language newspaper headlines

Punch to Punch Thairath, April 30, 2009
Left: Jakrapob Penkae: We still resist the Apisit government continuously and are now preparing some strategies to oppose the government. Surely, the red-shirt movement is still alive.
Right: Sathit Wongnongtoey: An arrest warrant for Jakrapob Penkae is now issued. It is necessary to bring a charge against him urgently because he is one of the Red Shirt core leaders who incited people to violence.

Not the “new” political pole – translated and summarized from Krungthep Turakit; Column: Tracking politics; Author: Nipawan Khaewrakmook, April 29, 2009
The unceasing political chaos is not a finalized issue at this moment as the movement of political pole leaders continue. The “old” political pole is Thaksin–the ousted premier and his red-shirt supporters–and the “new” political pole at this moment is the Democrat-led government, backed by the yellow shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy and the Army. 
Recently, rumor spreads that some Army figures are to join hands with some political factions in the incumbent government and possibly form the new political party. Many eyes are on the move of some high-ranked army figures who are thought to step into politics to maintain their influence. Everything seems to be possible if the Army led by Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan is to join hand with the blue shirt group of Newin Chidchob.
The issue of that PAD leader [Sondhi], who was targeted in the shooting attack but survived in interesting. It is said he tried to disclose earlier information about a coup attempt on April 12, 2009 from another PAD core leader Chamlong Srimuang. This is a matter of concern. If a coup attempt was achieved, some ministers in the incumbent government were to step in to lead the government. Thaksin earlier gave speech revealing the possible coalition of Newin and Gen. Prawit as well.
It is undeniable that the Army is involved in politics nowadays, especially in the case that the Democrat ruling government is formed after a discussion at the residence of Gen. Prawit in the 1st Infantry Regiment (King’s Guard) before he becomes the Defense Minister in the incumbent government. Despite the attempt to clarify this rumor from the Defense Minister, many who are involved with the close networks of Gen. Prawit and his brother, National Police Chief Pol. Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan are now saying that Gen. Prawit is “readily dressed up” for the “post”.

To save – To survive – translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakij; Column: Trace of politics; Author: Rak Montri; April 28, 2009
Although the red-shirt crisis was handled by the government, it is possible that the Red Shirt army is ready to rally all the time because the red shirts collect many kinds of weapons and also prepare to make a great assembly.
Violence by the Red Shirts may happen again and their movement may be so violent that it will become a civil war due to a clash between the Red Shirt rally and the local people. Importantly, a rumor that there is something violent happening in the country causes a lot of damage to the country’s reputation.
A group of three high-ranking generals warns the government to urgently find out the measures to prevent a severe situation. If the severe situation created by the Red Shirts happens again, people will not forgive the government at all and the government will be accused of causing the country to fall into ruin. The reason why the Red Shirt movement is taking place has changed to usurping the country. Thus, forgiving some politicians, setting up a committee to investigate the facts about Songkran crisis, setting up a committee to find a solution to political problems, and amending the constitution cannot stop the Red Shirt movement.
Especially, amending the constitution will bring many benefits to 111 politicians of the Thai Rak Thai Party and the 109 politicians of the Chart Thai and the People’s Power Party even though they broke the law. Hence, PM Abhisit Wejchacheewa should not think that goodness and morality can help only him to survive, but it also must help all Thai people to be saved. [This refers to the call to put principles of oversight and law–which have been completely new concepts for politicians to bow to–above political reconciliation and compromise that is seen as being forced on the country by threats of the Red Shirts.]

Threat of terrorist attacks – translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; April 26, 2009
Mr. Jakrapob Penkae, a leader of the red-shirt mob, has run away after the mob was cancelled following the announcement of the State of Emergency and the court issuing an arrest warrant against him. No one knows exactly where he is. However, he still gives interviews to international media saying that he will not stop fighting and will apply underground measures and other violent strategies to win the fight.
To guess, Mr. Jakrapob may have an intention to stage a civil war, as he told red-shirt people. He also announced that he would also apply the guerrilla strategy. This could be related to city terrorist attacks if Jakrapob has capacity and is supported financially to mobilize people with the same attitude.
Mr. Jakrapob’s threat should not be overlooked by careless officials. His behaviors show that he has never been a royalist and is against the Privy Council. He was accused of offending the Royal Institute many times.
Mr. Jakrapob alone may not be able to mobilize people and raise funds. However, there is a high possibility that he will be backed by an escaped political prisoner, who has just lost in his battle and is now a homeless [Thaksin].
The government should launch measures to cope with the threat. It is better than to let the situation go uncontrolled.
Besides Jakrapob, there are many red-shirt leaders who have escaped and those communist people who keep moving underground. It is possible that these people will work together without considering of any negative impacts on Thailand as they want to help their boss.

Subordinates of Pravit-Anupong moved in – Getting rid of Thaksin’s followers – translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; April 28, 2009
On April 27, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that the King has endorsed the proposal to appoint [shuffle] 454 military officers.
The mid-year military reshuffle list had been proposed on March 12. It was expected the conclusion would be announced before the end of March. However, there are too many processes in the new military reshuffle and the new military list and structure must be stated in the gazette before taking effect.
Several military units have been restructured. The military says that the new structure will allow it to work easier and more efficiently. This is the first time that all forces are restructured.
It is reported that all military officers who are close to Thaksin Shinawatra have been transferred [in inactive posts]. It is possible that Gen. Pravit and military commanders agreed that all Thaksin’s close friends should be transferred to prevent unexpected incidents as now the political situation is still uncertain and Thaksin is still making waves.

Military’s bullet – translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: The Preface; April 25, 2009
The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) core leader Sondhi Limthongkul was shot by army bullets bearing the mark of the Royal Thai Army (RTA) which are the series produced specifically for the 1st Army. General Anupong Paochinda agreed that the bullets came from the army’s 9th Infantry Division under the command of the 1st Army but they have been used for training only. It is also difficult to bring them out of the base.
Meanwhile, First Army commander Lieutenant General Kanit Sapitak said that the bullets bearing the mark RTA were used by many army divisions so it is difficult to know whether they have been brought out or not.
We are seeing that General Anupong and Lieutenant General Kanit have a different opinion. Maybe it makes people think that their opinions about politics are also different so their words are opposite. Besides, there was also a violence crash between the red shirts and the soldiers on Songkran day after declaring the Royal Act of State of Emergency]. So, it is not strange that people give many comments on their action. The comments will be reduced if Sondhi’s case is improved. Importantly, the weapons should be systematized and tracked because it will cause serious damage to the nation’s security if they are lost.

Questions that Anupong never answers – translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; April 23, 2009
After the situation gets back to normal, people turn to question about authorities’ noticeably strange gesture towards the risky situation, especially Commander-in-Chief Gen. Anupong Paojinda.
While waiting for the progress in the case of Sondhi Limthongkul’s assassination, people have more time to think about the matter.
Back to the 193-day gathering of the People Alliance for Democracy (PAD), starting from May 24, 2008, those who joined the protest were attacked by war weapons from several places located close to the Headquarters of the Royal Thai Army and the First Region Army under the supervision of Gen. Anupong Paojinda.
Later, during the recent red-shirt mob, the Prime Minister stated that there was a military vehicle that blocked his car. He added that people in the vehicle aimed to kill him.
In addition, criminals who tried to kill Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul used kinds of war weapons. Commander-in-Chief Anupong concluded that it was ordinary that civilians would used war weapons in the attack.
What people are wondering is why there was no security on Bang Khunprom junction, which was located near the Bank of Thailand (BoT), during the State of Emergency?
What had happened was directly related to Gen. Anupong Paojinda. As the Commander-in-Chief and a committee of the State of Emergency Operation Center, he never answered any questions about the issue.

Kom Chad Luek, April 21, 2009
The headline of the article reads: The underground’s affair… who gain the benefits?
The policeman is saying: Ai Pued ["Ai Pued" is a generic name given to an unnamed or X person who is believed to be a wrongdoer, but who cannot be named for one reason or another. Here, it is once again used to ridicule who have been unwilling or unable to involve themselves in solving highly charged cases.]
The word on the jar in which the police hides reads: The National Intelligence Police

Amnesty – translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; April 21, 2009
The new proposal for an amnesty for 220 politicians from the Thai Rak Thai Party, Chart Thai Party and Matchima Party is more accepted than previous ones as people are absolutely tired of political conflicts.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s expression of interest in the idea will make less people oppose it.
Before we reach that point, we must consider that Thailand’s political world is full of corruption which also destroys the country. Politicians do not represent civilians, but henchmen of investors. We must think if we want the country goes back to the point again.
Prime Minister Abhisit’s suggestion to separate political charges from criminal charges is a perfect idea, if it is possible [This is what is behind this amnesty idea–allow politicians amnesty, but make sure that Thaksin and his family–convicted on criminal charges–to be forever barred from returning to power]. To separate charges that happened during the past 7 to 8 years is not easy.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva might want to solve political conflicts by politics.
If prisoner Thaksin really receives an amnesty for political charges, he cannot get back all his political rights. He has also been charged with corruption and has been sentenced to two years in jail. If he really wants his political life back, he must come back to Thailand and spend at least seven years in jail. Moreover, he has to wait for other five years. However, this does not included other of his charges yet that have not been decided.

Assassination of Sondhi unveils the new political concept amidst conflicts – translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Wipak Haeng Wipak; April 21, 2009
The assassination attempt on Charnchai Likhitjittha and Sondhi Limthongkul created a new political movement.
It will be interesting when both efforts are combined with two situations occurring in the meantime – the gun attack at the Office of the Constitutional Court and an effort to burn the headquarters of Bangkok Bank and Charoen Pokphand [this happened in the last day of the Red Shirt attempt to take over Bangkok earlier in April].
The question is if there is a group of people who want to make the red-shirt mob become more aggressive, especially after the State of Emergency was declared.
The situation became more complicated.
The feeling that someone was trying to create a hostile situation made people become more careful politically.
It seems like we see shadows of Abhisit Vejjajiva and Thaksin Shinawatra standing.
Since the mob started on April 8, the name of Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul had not been mentioned. The mob targeted Gen. Prem Tinasulanont.
However, several incidents like the gun attack at the Office of Constitutional Court, efforts to burn headquarters of Bangkok Bank and Charoen Pokphand and the attempt to kill Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul enabled the public to see that some people were trying to worsen the situation and expand the conflict to include new political figures.

Keep eyes on the new “political pole” – Abhisit encircled – Sondhi to be gotten rid of to clear political pole blockade – translated and summarized from
ASTV-Phujatkarn; Author: Nokwheed; April 20, 2009
The car shooting attack targeting the life of Manager media founder Sondhi Limthongkul on April 17, 2009 was a brutal event, especially for a man who dared stand to fight against Thaksin’s regime in the recent years. Supposedly the mastermind of the murder is then, influential figures.
Groups of involved suspects are possibly those who are formed the pro-Thaksin groups, but newly joined hands with some politicians in the government who aim at creating a new political reality. [This refers to the Friend’s of Newin group that is part of the coalition government. Some suspect they have the most to gain if the PAD and UDD fight to the death and have to be suppressed by the military.]
It is the new political pole that aims to step up to replace the old political pole of aristocracy and targets to become the next prime minister. By comparing the life target attack that Mr. Sondhi has faced recently with the attack that occurred during the Asian summit meeting in Pattaya (the Prime Minister fell as target of the attack) and the raid on the Interior Ministry by the Reds, the Prime Minister has to be aware of who he is fighting with. He has failed to prevent the attack on his life as he trusts the close aide ministerial posts [Here, they are referring to the "Friends of Newin" politicians who control the Interior Ministry]
The Prime minister is now facing with both the Pro-Thaksins and the inner government figures who aim at stepping into power. I believe that if the Prime Minister proves his leadership and leads the country to overcome the crisis, the public will support him and he will not to walk alone in the path of the leader.

Behind the “will” – Targeting Sondhi’s life – Instigating anger between Reds and Yellows – translated and summarized from Thai Post, Author: Plew Seengern, April 18, 2009
[While the English-language press ignorantly muses about "who are the Blue Shirts?," in the Thai-language world this week, there have been many direct or oblique references (as in this article) to Northeastern kingpin and banned MP Newin as a force who stands to gain if both the Reds and Yellows annihilate each other.]
The attack targeting the life of Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, Manager Media founder was, to me, a signal for us, the media to be aware of producing the news that is devoted to the truth and the nation.
Mr. Sondhi survives incredibly and this is proof that a good man is protected by goodness. Regarding the ill will to threaten Mr. Sondhi’s life, I dare say that the red-shirt people are not involved. We are all Thai people under the constitutional monarchy and we all have loyalty for our beloved King.
You might then ask who did it? I am to ask back “who” receives the gain from the situation that the reds and the yellows fight each other. Who is in the person in a mediocre position who gains benefit from any political side? Many can say he/she is loyal, but on the bias of power and money, what is to be cherished in nowadays’ value?
The feeling that the reds are losers generates a deep breakup among reds and that vengeance is deserved for them. The murder plan targeting Sondhi’s life generates, likewise, the deep anger among the yellow PAD.
I urge that the yellows and the reds to be clam and aware of the “visible” hand that aims to wreak chaos from the situation and to claim a heroic action that leads to absolute power.
As for Prime Minister Abhisit, I would like the Prime Minister to have awareness of the people around you. You can imagine you are sitting in barbed wire. You cannot believe every one around you will not turn a betrayer one day in the future as “Brutus.” Please reconsider on how the security plan was managed on the day your car was attacked, as well as the scene of protest in Pattaya. Beware of the “Thai” style vision in exercising your PM power.

Matichon Weekly, April 17, 2009
It reads: No footprints in the air
[Anyone know what this really means?]

Yui explains: As you ask in the website "Anyone know what this really means?"…For the summary it means "getting nothing from the investment of the former PM Thaksin" [Clapping feet are the symbol of the Red Shirts. This article implies the failed attempt to overthrow the government means the investment in the Red Shirts by Thaksin has not yielded results.]

Update: Another take on the meaning – A reader explains: …Note the story on page 23 where they interview a man who was detained before the coup and claims to have heard General Sonthi take a phone call from someone he calls “ma.” Anyway my wife thinks that the “footprints in the air” title is a cryptic reference to evidence (or non-evidence) of royal intervention in the coup by citing royal language (the dust beneath the soles of your feets, etc). In other words, royal tracks leave no footprints. But it’s just a hypothesis. 

Amending the constitution and declaring an amnesty for some politicians, it is irrelevant to unity – translated and summarized from Thaipost; Column: The Editorial; April 22, 2009
The debate about the political conflict is now going ahead in the parliament. The representatives of the coalition government party and of the opposition party come to debate what solution is the best of solving the political conflict, but they talk about an amnesty for some politicians who were deprived of the political rights by the court, and a constitutional amendment on article 237.
These topics are opposed immediately by the people. It means that the political conflict is not improved although the constitution is amended and some politicians are forgiven. According to the case of the party dissolution of Thai Rak Thai party, it showed that Thai Rak Thai party could do everything to govern the country and its actions are in conflict with the constitution and has endangered the country’s security. It was unsure whether Thaksin thought over the country’s benefit more than his personal interest when administering the country.
The Thai Rak Thai party was dissolved by the court after their decision. Hence, the ideas about an amnesty for some politicians and a constitutional amendment is irrelevant to unity and also is in conflict with the political reform proposed by Abhisit government. However, the political benefits of each party is focused firstly when the debate is begun.

Nation Weekly – April 20, 2009

The cover reads: War of 7.6 ten thousand million baht [This refers to the amount of money widely rumored to have financed the Red Shirts’ attempt to seize power in Bangkok.]

“It happens at the Bangna intersection” – by Kui, Kom Chad Luek, April 21, 2009
Left: From the in-depth information, we initially believe we know who is the assassin involved with the shooting targeting Mr. Sondhi.
Middle: Who is the person sir?
Right: Ai Pued ["Ai Pued" is a generic name given to an unnamed or X person who is believed to be a wrongdoer, but who cannot be named for one reason or another. Here, it is used to poke fun at the lack-luster performance of the police as if they are saying "it is Joe Blow."]

Thai Rath, April 19, 2009
Follow up with the case to close down the community radio stations involved with rallying the masses
Bloodshed shooting attack aimed at Sondhi – Surgery operation undergone
Life bidding ["He bets his life," C-in-C Anupong Paojinda’s quotation that he bets his life there were no deaths caused by the army crackdown on Red Shirts.]

Kom Chad Luek, April 21, 2009
Don’t miss the record of the April crisis event – the tragic Songkran
Chamlong says coup involved – The PAD urges panel of officials on national security restructured
Rely on the real fans for tracking for the pickup’s whereabouts [this refers to the vehicle carrying the Sondhi assassins – viewers of a car lover’s show, Big Fans, were asked to use their expertise to identify the vehicle]
Sondhi’s head valued at 3 million baht

Punch to Punch Thairath, April 20, 2009

Left: Abhisit Wejchacheewa – It reads: Although the severe situation was improved, no one gained the victory or the defeat. If the better situation shows victory, it would have been the victory to bring a peace to society.
Right: Thaksin Shinawatra – It reads: Thai government should find a way to create a rapport with the red-shirt protest rally more than put them in a jail. When the Thai government uses violence to solve the problem, the severe situation happening in the country is also its result. If he puts the red-shirt core leaders in a jail, the violent situation will be more severe.

Punch to Punch Thairath, April 13, 2009

Left: Thaksin Shinawatra – It reads: Thai people who love freedom and fairness, please come to show your power extremely because you are one who change Thailand’s history.
Right: Abhisit Wejchacheewa – It reads: If it is the claim on democracy, the government will surely respond. But, if the claim is irrelevant to democracy, the government can’t respond. The government has to be covered by the law and the principle institutions of the nation.

Goodness protects good man – Incredibly Sondhi survives – translated and summarized from Phujatkan; Author: Crime news team; April 17, 2009
The People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD core leader and media magnet Sondhi Limthingkul was attacked in a shooting attack targeted his life early morning on April17, 2009 close to the Eium Woranutch Temple at Bangkhumprom intersection in the Phra Nakorn district in Bangkok. Sondhi’s car was attacked by M16 guns shooting. His driver was injured severely. Sondhi receives the injury from a bullet in his head and he was operated on. The doctor later revealed that Mr. Sondhi was in safe condition.

Behind the “force” dissolving the red protest – translated and summarized from Matichon; Page: 11, April 16, 2009
It is to be inscribed in Thai history that the mob was dissolved by the Army without loss of people’s life during the Army operation to handle the red-shirt protest during Songkran Festival, 2009.
According to the Army preparation, approximately 40 troops of military forces were dispatched to monitor the situation. Regarding the strategy to handle the masses, the front line force used shields and bats while the back-up team is equipped with guns with drill ammunition. The rear line military team is equipped with bullets and the Army used these to threaten the protest by shooting onto the sky.
Anyway, the truth is to be verified by the footage of the camera recoding the event on the operation date. The thankful message is to be partially delivered to the red leaders who declared a halt to the protest unless bloodshed would occur. For all lessons we learned from the tragic Songkran, 2009, it is us, Thai people who are to answer the doubtful question whether the national breakup is what we really want to see indeed.

The Red-shirt mob has no righteousness – translated and summarized from Naew Na; Column: April 9, 2009
Thaksin Shinawatra tries to mobiles red-shirt people nationwide to join a civil war, aiming to bring down the government and aristocracy. He claimed that it is a civil revolution just like the October 14, 1973 and the Black May 1992 events, which is a complete distortion of the truth.
It is known that the events of October 14, 1973 and May 17, 1992 were collaboration of academics and people who were motivated by pure ideals. They moved peacefully to get real democracy. They fought for the majority.
The movements by red-shirt people are known to be only for the benefit of one person. They do not concern themselves with improving the government.
The red-shirt movement, claimed to be a fight for democracy, is aimed at laundering all of Thaksin’s guilty and taking back Thaksin’s 76-billion-baht assets and his power.
The leaders of the red-shirt mob demand for four things, including sacking Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda, Chairman of the Privy Council and statesman, and Gen. Surayud Chulanont, a privy councilor, and former Prime Minister.
It is such an aggressive and overconfident requirement. It shows their intention to destroy the royal institute. Other requirements are also not in line with the current situation. They are just reasons to create a situation which will lead to violence.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced via TV Pool that the government will not be trapped by the red-shirt mob and it will not use any violent measures.

Punch to punchThai Rath, April 4, 2009

Left: Thaksin Shinawatra – It reads: I have nothing that is in conflict with Gen Surayuth Chulanont, therefore [there is no reason for] the chaos and grudges that led to the cases to get rid of me over claims that I am not loyal [to the Monarchy]
Right: Privy Councilor and former Prime Minister Gen Surayuth Chulanont – The information from Thaksin might be mistaken information. I did not take part in the coup. I believe in the circle of good and bad actions [according to Buddhism] that every man will receive the result from their good and bad deeds.  

An assassination of a privy councilor – translated and summarized from Daily News; April 9, 2009
Currently, the country is separated into two groups–the yellows and the reds–created by their extremely different political ideas. Meanwhile, an issue about an assassination of a privy councilor was reported. Four suspects with guns, bullets, pictures and important documents, were arrested. They confessed that they were trying to kill one of seven privy councilors–Mr. Charnchai Likhitjittha. He is a person who joined a discussion on national problems at Mr. Pee Malakul Na Ayutthaya’s place before the September 19 2006 coup.
The motivation for the assassination cannot be concluded yet. Suspects claimed that they were hired by a northern businessman who has a conflict with Mr. Charnchai over businesses and personal matters. They disclosed that a special captain was a middleman. They were told to commit the crime before April 7, before the big gathering of red-shirt people. It was assumed that it was aimed to create a situation – to make it more violent and aggressive.
People may wonder about the case as it seemed to be unprofessional. However, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban confirmed that the government and the police did not create the situation. The government also ordered officials to provide strict security for the Chairman of the Privy Councilor, privy councilors and other important figures.
We hope that the case will not be a repeats of repeat Thaksin’s assassination attempt, which was proven to be a ‘silly’ incident.

Government weak: The reason Thaksin gets stronger – translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; Author; Samart Mangsang; April 7, 2009
If you look back to see the reason the military ran a coup to bring down the government led by Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19, 2006, you will see that reasons were the Thaksin government tended to seek their own benefits in an illegal way which led to social disunity and media intervention.
Until now, the action has not been eliminated, and even worsened. Red-shirt people tend to try to create disunity in society, aiming to destroy the good image people have towards the government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva and the country’s important institutes, especially the court, which is one of three major institutes in Thailand.
All Thaksin’s phone-ins aimed to make people see that he was bullied by the court.
What makes Thaksin and his followers dare challenge the court’s power when he is an escaped prisoner and is charged for many lawsuits?
However, to analyze why the government is weak, we must take a look back from the September 19 coup until now – the day red-shirt people moved to block Government House, announcing they will bring down the government before Songkran festival.
Starting from the Council for Democracy Reform, after dethroning the Thaksin government, it did not take charge like other revolutionists. Instead, they let Gen. Surayud Chulanont take the Prime Minister position. As a leader of the government, Gen. Surayud did not express any bravery in fixing problems and suing Thaksin and people in the Thaksin regime. He just let everything go slowly.
Until the end of 2007, the People Power’s Party, a nominee government of Thaksin Shinawatra, which was led by Mr. Samak Sudaravej. THe PPP won the majority vote in the election.
After Samak took the helm, he was moving to amend the Constitution to grant amnesty to Thaksin and people under Thaksin regime. This was where five leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy made a move. They opposed the idea to amend the Constitution.
Later, Mr. Samak was found guilty for being an employee of a private company. He had to step out of his position. Then, Mr. Somchai Wongsawat replaced him. Samak continued with the move to amend the constitution. The PAD opposed him with more aggressive measures.
We can see that from September 19, 2006, there were no governments focusing on solving problems stated in the reason for the revolution.
Today, the Democrat Party, led by Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban, is the government. They do not seem to focus on handling with people in the Thaksin regime. In contrast, they even plan to negotiate with Thaksin. So, the intervention of Thaksin is not likely to be solved.
In conclusion, if the government is still weak and its ministers are still inexperienced, one day the Thaksin regime will become stronger and take charge of Thailand.

Nation Weekend, April 10, 2009
It reads: This round, overthrow Pa [Privy Councilor Prem]
Next round, overthrow who?

Punch to PunchThaiRath, April 6, 2009

Thaksin Shinawatra – It reads: Privy Councilor Gen. Prem and Gen. Surayuth have participated in political activities. It caused damage to the country so they should not meddle in politics. If they meddle in politics, they will be also involved in politics.
Prime Minister Abhisit – It reads: In the case of Thaksin’s claim to something pertaining to politics, no matter what he wants, he had better negotiate with politicians. It was wrong that he alluded to Privy Councilor President Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda and Privy Councilor Gen. Surayuth Chulanonda.

Looking the source of Red-Shirt power – paying Bt1,000 per person from 26 provinces – followers of Wat Chan Bin will make a move before April 8 – translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; April 7, 2009
Finally, when a problem comes, Thailand need ‘adult’s’ help anyway.
The Democrat government let Thaksin Shinawatra, escaped prisoner, lead the country to turmoil. It cannot do anything but asking for help from ‘adults’.
If it was more hard-working, that ‘devil’ would not come out and haunt people, including persons who people worship.
The Democrat Party should have known that the target of the escaped prisoner is to bring down the royal institute.
It is not too late for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to make a move.
First things first, he must order all authorities concerned to do their duty.
Do not let that capitalist dictator tell the public about wrong concepts of democracy. Do not let him tell people that Thaksin is equal to democracy.
Thaksin is doing everything for himself.
Thaksin announced that he would mobilize people from April 8 to 10. Red-shirt people would gather to bring down the aristocrats.
A five-million-baht donation would be used to mobilize 300,000 red-shirt members from 26 provinces.
They would get at least 1,000 baht per person, plus free transportation and meals.
What should be monitored was the reason of the mobilization. Thaksin coaxed people to help change the country, to help promote Thailand to a real democratic kingdom.
It is said that ‘Chanbin’ members from the ‘direct dharma’ organization will join the gathering.

Thailand’s way out – Justice must be chosen – translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; April 6, 2009
It cannot be denied that the announcement of red-shirt people stating that they will mobilize to oust Chairman of the Privy Council Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda from his position has created anxiety in the Thai people. People question about Thailand’s future and way out.
People are worrying about the country’s future as it seems to be clear that Thaksin’s target is to destroy the Privy Council’s image, which is directly related to the royal institute. It is feared that Thai people may kill one another as the red-shirt mob announced they would not stop until the goal is achieved.
Amidst this risky situation, Thai people must think and consider carefully if the current political upheaval leads to the unhappiness of all Thai people. Is it the corruption under Thaksin regime which creates disunity among Thai people? In the past, the former Prime Minister announced that he would quit politics, but instead, he is doing everything he can to get his powerful position back.
Thai people must weigh the situation and stand on the right side – either the Privy Council that took a risk getting involved in the politics or a rich businessman who buys everything with his money.

Every party must be patient – translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Editorial; April 4, 2009
The gathering of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) has reached its second week. They have been gathering at the Government House. What concerns people is that they will move to the residence of Privy Councilor Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda on April 8.
In fact, to demand real democracy and oppose the Abhisit government is a basic right under democracy. People will be allowed to gather as long as they understand their rights.
The government’s acceptance of the gathering is a good sign. It is what a democratic government should do. The heart of democracy is patience and endurance which will lead to a reasonable discussion to seek solutions to social problems.
To compare to previous gatherings, we will see that no violent attacks take place lately. People say that Thais are getting used to and are learning to live with political mobs.
We can see that Thai people can stand different opinions and accept political movements. We hope that the situation will remain unchanged in order to develop a sustainable democracy. A little political turmoil is a part of changes. And it is not a bad action if it leads to a better future.
The government, officials and a lot of people are learning to be patient which is an important part of democracy. We hope that the coming gathering of the UDD will be the same. If it really asks for real democracy, no violent actions should take place as it will break the basic law of democracy.

Decency-Neutrality – translated and summarized from Dailynews; Column: The editorial; April 1, 2009
After a group of police officers in half uniform participated in the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) rally [the red-shirt protest rally] for deposing the Apisit government. Due to this action, the red shirts were delighted and also feel that the police officers are their partisans. In fact, it was an improper action that the police officers in uniform participate in the rally. The police officers, who peacefully police the rally, should be neutral and adhere to democratic politics.
The metropolitan police are setting up a committee to inquire about the event.
Previously, a senior soldier in full uniform made a speech on the stage of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) [the yellow-shirt protest rally]. He was criticized for his improper behavior so the commander asked him to change his behavior. If he did not change his behavior, it would impact on the image of military institution.
In the case of the police officers and the red shirts, they can participate in the red-shirt protest rally, if we consider the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. But maybe the people will misunderstand if the police officers appear in uniform.

Burst of gunfire – translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; April 3, 2009
Ran Muanglong, a Thai left-wing theoretician, analyses the current political situation.
He said red-shirt people will be attacked even more for disloyalty by focusing on Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda and Gen. Surayud Chulanont. Their gatherings will face obstacles and will be eventually suppressed.
He said that the leaders of Thailand’s aristocracy, who play important roles in the society, will not surrender easily.
It means the chance of a new war in the city is high.
As we know after an incident of political bloodshed and fighting that an interim government will be set up, and then an elected one.
Moreover, members of upper-class society and politicians will be even more united.
This always is the solution to Thai social conflicts.
Dead civilians become heroes and living ones will still be chips in political games.
The military, as a villain, is a social victim. It will have to go back to their bases and will come back again as a hero later.
Ran Muanglung said Thaksin is applying Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini’s strategy.
His phone-ins and video links create anxiety among aristocrats and the Abhisit government.
Ran Muanglung is confident that the red-shirt force will win the battle.
He said the world is on the democratic side as aristocracy is an outdated administrative system.

Actions in response to rumours of the end of battle – translated and summarized from Thai Rath; April 4, 2009
It is rumoured that Thaksin disappeared for two days to go to the United States to discuss human rights issues – about Thailand’s double-standard treatment against himself.
Coincidentally, in the meantime, US Ambassador to Thailand Eric G. John visited the Chairman of the Privy Councilor and statesman Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda at his residence on Si Sao Thevet.
Recently, Senate chairman Prasobsuk Boondech confirmed that upper-class people, or the so-called "Poo Yai," are concerned about the current situation. He said they are moving to solve it.
A middleman from the upper-class society, who has respect from both sides, will negotiate with them. The negotiation will take place before April 8.
An insider source names this person as Asa Sarasin who is His Majesty’s Deputy Principal Private Secretary. He is a person close to the palace with whom Thaksin can make contact.
All parties express that they want to negotiate to solve the problem and help the country.

Return to the time before September 19 coup – translated and summarized from Thai Rath, April 1, 2009
Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is urging a house dissolution and a snap election from his opponent Democrat-led government and, at the same time, remarking that everything should begin at its first stage–like before the September 19th coup.
This is Thaksin’s request to return to his power. Many times that Thaksin has put the blame on those who treat him unfairly and toppled him from the leader post. He announced the involvement of the Privy Council President and some Privy councilors in the work behind September19 coup.
However, Thaksin never clarified the fact that before the coup of September 19, he was the one who caused wide corruption in the government, a grave breakup in Thai society and the dismantling of the power check system of counter-corrupt panels.
The ousted Prime Minister and his supporters’ movement is aimed at toppling the Democrat-led government. My remark to give here is, according to the criminal code article 116, those who generate chaos are to face up to 7 years in jail.

(Source: DTV)

Thaksin puts emphasis on "fighting with the head" for running his political game – translated and summarized from Thairath; Column: The Analysis, April 1, 2009
The sentence, ‘Thailand need change’ appeared on the background of Thaksin’s video link when former PM Thaksin Shinawatra was making a speech to the red shirts gathered around Government House. It is because he tried to convey the idea of "Thailand need change" to the foreign media and also used the foreign media to spread the news about the red shirt movement. Speaking by video link, the content of his speech involved Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, the head Privy Council and Gen. Surayuth Chulanond, the privy councilor and ex-prime minister.
We are seeing that his political game pertains to the influential people. So, no matter what the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)
do, Thaksin does not care.
In the meantime, PNET vice-president Gen. Saiyud Kerdphol and his group made a statement and appraised the situation of the red shirt rally. They believe that the objective of Thaksin’s movement is to create disorder so that this situation can bring a coup d’etat to the country.

Phenomena: “The Blue Shirts” – translated and summarized from Matichon, April 1, 2009
A group of Suvarnabhumi airport custodians worn blue shirts and gathered to protect the Suvarnabhumi International Airport from the red-shirt rally. It is said that “the blue shirts” came from the idea of the Bhumjaithai party [the new party made up of the Friends of Newin politicians who defected from the Thaksin camp].
This is in line with Interior Minister and Bhumjaithai party leader Chaowarat Charnwerakul, who initiated the policy of protecting the royal institution.
During his inspection tour in 10 provinces, people accompanying him had to wear blue shirts on which were printed the words “Protect the Royal Institution”.
Many people may think that the blue shirts were originally connected to the Bhumjaithai Party. In fact, the words on the blue shirts have been different from time to time: “Protect the Royal Institution,” “The Bhumjaithai Party,” and “Newin is my friend, I am Newin’s friend”.
The blue shirts with “Newin is my friend, I am Newin’s friend” was a special version which was provided for the politicians and aides of any other parties that joined the Bhumjaithai Party. So, we are seeing that the blue shirt is popular right now and also is a new political movement. It seems unlikely that the Blue Shirt are going to stop the conflict between the Yellow Shirts and Red Shirts as per Newin’s group claimed.

Foreigners must disclose website postings – translated and summarized from Matichon; April 1, 2009
[This article is a fake, April Fool’s Day posting.]
New regulations in effect from April require foreign visa holders (whether tourist or those applying for B, M, or O-type visas) to disclose if they are owners of a website or intend to post information about Thailand on a website forum or blog.
Website owners who work in Thailand must possess a Thai business registration
in the form of a limited partnership even if the site is hosted overseas.
If a visa-holder intends to
post material to a website–including
internet forums and blogs–the posting must first be approved by
the Ministry of Culture. Forms for the approval process will be handed out with the Thai Immigration entry card upon arrival or approval can be submitted via an online form at the Ministry of Culture website.
Visa holders will also be required to install "Cyber Cop" program to ensure they abide by
the new regulations that restrict the viewing of some websites within Thailand. This program will automatically upload the latest blocklists without the user having to do anything.
The Ministry will not use the new regulations to censor
political speech. Instead, the Ministry is mainly focusing on material
that might be of detriment to Thai tourism or the country’s image
in general.
More on Website censorship in Thailand

Must make people put their trust in the government – translated and summarized from Dailynews; Column: The editorial; April 6, 2009
Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, speaking by video link, is persuading the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) to rally in an extreme way as possible because he expects that a people power revolution will happen. This action causes a lot of entrepreneurs to be greatly worried. The president of the Federation of Thai Industries Santi Wiladsakdanonda believes that it also impacts the government’s measures to stimulate the economy.
In addition, this action brings disorder to many groups of people, for example, those who respect Privy Councilor General Prem Tinasulanonda. THey will be ready to rally for protecting him if there is a movement impacting this influential royal advisor.
It is necessary that the government rushes to deal with this problem for peace and makes neutral people have great faith by explaining the truth to the people that the main reason of the rally is to conceal Thaksin’s guilt. Meanwhile the government should also tackle the economic crisis.

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Red Shirt Protest Headlines – April 15-30, 2009

Red Shirt protest main page – March-April 2009

Clowns aplenty in parliament circusBangkok Post, April 23, 2009
…Here are some examples of the “garbage”
discharged by Pheu Thai MPs, especially Surapong Tovichakchaikul from Chiang
Mai and Chalerm Yubamrung:
+ Red-shirt protesters were not responsible for the collapse
of the Asean plus 3 and Asean plus 6 summit in Pattaya. It was the Abihsit government which cancelled
the summits and it was the blue shirts who provoked the red-shirt protest.
+ The LPG gas truck which was parked near the Din Daeng
apartment with its valves open was not the work of the red-shirt protesters,
but outsiders masquerading as red shirts.
+ Red-shirt protesters did not harm or smashed the car of
Niphon Promphan, secretary-general of the prime minister, at the Interior
Ministry. On the contrary, they were
there to rescue Niphon.
+ Red-shirt protest was peaceful and they did not cause any
hardships to the people in Bangkok. They went on rampage after they were provoked
by the government which declared the state of emergency in Bangkok.
+ The declaration of state of emergency was totally
unjustified because there was no emergency situation in Bangkok…

Right: Komchadluek, April 21, 2009 – It reads: Some of the Red Shirt UDD leaders who have arrest warrants on their heads and rewards for useful information that leads to their arrest.

Interior Ministry mayhem –
Police offer bounty for info on suspects
The Nation, April 20, 2009

…Meanwhile, red-shirt co-leader Jatuporn Phrompan said he had just had a telephone conversation with ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra on Saturday.
He quoted Thaksin as saying that the Songkran mayhem, such as the torching of buses, were done not by the red shirts but the blue shirts, who are state officials in disguise to wreak havoc and pin the blame on the red shirts.
He accused Abhisit of picking on the red shirts while neglecting to enforce the law on the yellow shirts…

Moving into ‘action’ phaseThe Straits Times, April 20, 2009
… “I believe people are now planning and thinking whether or not peaceful means serve them best. We are not encouraging violence, but have to admit that people have been repeatedly disappointed.”
“Legal standards have been clearly unfair and unjust. I am not saying there will be violence I the days ahead. But the remaining opportunities for a peaceful solution are every day decreasing.
“We still talk about a peaceful way in which people can get their rights back. But people have the right to defend themselves against aggression,” he said…

Where Thaksin went wrong Bangkok Post, April 19, 2009
…The PAD’s "final solution" was taking the airport hostage. Sure, there were weapons, violence and deaths. But there was also organisation to the movement. Key leaders were always visible, leading the charge, keeping the mob under control. For the rest of us Thais, Suvarnabhumi is way over there – isolated, way, way, way over there. It was annoying. It was unfortunate. It was inconvenient. But it did not threaten people of their properties. It’s not right outside our windows. Unless a trip was planned, it didn’t directly touch us.
The UDD’s "final solution", on the other hand, was to take over Bangkok. Oops. Who thought that one up? An armed mob running amok all over the city. Key leaders were nowhere in sight. Citizens were threatened and killed. Yup, that will win over public opinion alright. Their actions were way, way, way too near and menacing for comfort. People’s revolution? Nope, mob rule…

FTI: Damage greater this time – Scenes of violence alarm investorsBangkok Post, April 17, 2009
…The damage to investment sentiment from the Songkran unrest will definitely be greater than the economic fallout from last year’s airport closures, particularly in terms of country risk, say business leaders.
Physical attacks on a minister and VIP guards, in particular, have portrayed an image of an uncivilised country, which will take a very long time to recover…

Sondhi of PAD survives shootingsBangkok Post, April 17, 2009

Media mogul Sondhi’s car ambushed TOC, April 17, 2009


Jakrapob’s website is blocked within Thailand (when accessing the site starting with "www"). However, the website itself is apparently offline.

The Economist will not be distributed in Thailand this week because of a critical editorial.

DTV now MVTV – April, 17, 2009
The broadcast DTV has been switched to MVTV–a combination of infomercials, patriotic videos, and a news report on the Red Shirt leaders arriving at court. The DTV website is also offline.

Red Shirt protest main page – March-April 2009

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Southern Violence Statistics – April 2009

Map of four provinces in the deep south (Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat) showing numbers of the dead and injured by location.

Southern Violence Statistics – April 2009
Index of violence statistics for the Thai Deep South

This chart shows violent incidents classified by the hour of the day (x-axis) and the province (y-axis). Songkhla=light blue, Pattani=blue, Yala=green, Narathiwat=red, total events=black

This chart shows violent incidents classified by day of the week (x-axis) and the province (y-axis). The days of the week start with Monday on the left. Songkhla=light blue, Pattani=blue, Yala=green, Narathiwat=red, total events=black

This chart shows violent incidents classified by day of the month (x-axis) and the province (y-axis). Songkhla=light blue, Pattani=blue, Yala=green, Narathiwat=red, total events=black

Numbers of violent incidents since January 2004. Across the bottom are the years (2547 is 2004, 2548 is 2005, 2549 is 2006, 2550 is 2007, 2551 is 2008, 2552 is 2009). The blue line shows the number of all violent incidents that took place as reported by the Deep South Coordination Center (counting all incidents both injury and non-injury). The red line shows data according to the Violence-related Injury Surveillance (a form that hospitals, doctors and clinics are supposed to fill out to report violent incidents).

The blue line shows the average monthly level of violent incidents from 2004 up to the present. The red line shows the information provided to the Violence-related Injury Surveillance in the present year. The y-axis shows the numbers of events from 0-300. The x-axis shows the months of the year from January to December (left to right).

The numbers of injured and dead reported from each province where the events occurred (Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla). Black= dead, orange=injured. The CFR (Case Fatality Rate) of each province is above each bar.

The toll of dead and injured (y-axis), classified by the districts where the incidents took place (x-axis). Black= dead, orange=injured.

Map of four provinces in the deep south (Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat) showing the number of violent events by tambon (village). Starting at light yellow, the levels are 1-10, 10-20, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, and greater than 60.

The numbers of dead and injured, classified by the victims’ profession. Black= dead, orange=injured. From left to right: police officers, army officers, others, businessmen, students and college students ,agriculturists, laborers, volunteer defense guards, housewives, state enterprise employees, unknown (no data), unemployed, tambon administrative officials, other officials

Source: Deep South Violence-related Injury Surveillance statistics

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Thai golf star cracks world top 50

Thai golf star cracks world top 50TODAYonline,  April 27, 2009
This handout picture shows Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand in action during the Barclays Singapore Open Pro Am event at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore, 2008. Thongchai’s victory at the Ballantine’s Championship saw him crack the world’s top 50 and qualify for next week’s lucrative Players Championship in the United States…

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‘Etiquette guide’ for Thai monks

‘Etiquette guide’ for Thai monksBBC News, April 27, 2009
A Buddhist preacher in Thailand has announced plans for new guidelines aimed at curbing the flamboyant behavior of gay and transgender monks…

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The swine flu crisis lays bare the meat industry’s monstrous power

The swine flu crisis lays bare the meat industry’s monstrous powerGuardian, April 27, 2009
…Just as Bangkok-based chicken giant Charoen Pokphand was able to suppress enquiries into its role in the spread of bird flu in southeast Asia, so it is likely that the forensic epidemiology of the swine flu outbreak will pound its head against the corporate stonewall of the pork industry…

Posted in 2Bangkok News | Leave a comment

National Liberation Front of Patani

Statement from a member of the National Liberation Front of Patani – translated and summarized from Issara News Centre; April 24, 2009

Part 1

During the past five years of the unrest in the South, we often heard about words like "insurgents" or "R.K.K. commando bombing men." Those words were used by the security forces after a violent event took place.
However, people have never been informed what exactly insurgents are, who they work for, and what they do. Are the words "R.K.K" or "commando" names that the armed group calls itself or is it a word created by the government?
Previously, there were efforts to let members of those movements unveil inside information to the media, but the public was not interested. They were seen as a set-up of the government [for propaganda purposes].
Recently, the Issara News Centre had a chance to talk to a former member of an insurgency movement called Jihad. Jihad means a religious effort or is used for an action done to increase people’s faith in God. However, here, it means a holy war.
The information unveiled by this man, who was a former insurgent, and words of people living in the same village, enables us to know about the movement’s ideas, measures and strategies applied to achieve its goal – land separatism.

"I don’t think I made a wrong decision that day"

The 39-year-old former insurgent said that he worked with the group for about four years and he never thought that he had made a wrong decision.
“I was a member for about four years. Back then, I was proud of what I was facing. In early 2004, ‘Ayah’ (a position of a leading member in a village) liked to come talking to me about history and the Patani state. The man also told me about what happened during the time, focusing on discrediting the Thai government. He never talked about good side of the Thai government. No one thought of asking him either.”
The former insurgent discloses that ‘Ayah’ spent years talking to him.
“He would spend a long time coaxing people. He made us feel confident in the movement day by day. After that, Ayah will persuade them to become a member of the movement. He claimed that all of residents in the village were members of Jihad, except you. He would say that you were the last one, go back home and think about it”.
“I spent two days considering about the proposal and joining the Jihad. After that, Ayah held a meeting at the home of a member, without informing people of the purpose of the meeting. I was there and saw four people already waiting. Later, five other villagers joined. So, there were ten, the whole village”.
“After that, Ayah showed up with a 50-year-old man and asked everybody in the house to sit in a circle. The old man told everyone to put their right hands on his (this is "supoh," an inauguration ceremony – a personal belief of Muslim people) and speak after him in Yawi language. The vow said that no person was allowed to unveil any secrets. If one did so, he would be punished by Allah. After one performed "supoh," he would have to follow all orders. He would let us speak a few times”.
However, during the ceremony, the former insurgent started to think that there was no such ceremony of Islamic doctrine [that he would be punished by Allah for telling about the group].
“It was not stated in doctrine, so how come we prepared the ceremony? This was what made me dare unveiling secrets of the movement.”

Part 2

Mobilising people to hate the government – hoarding food to prepare for war

After the ceremony, Ayah told everyone that they were now members of the movement. They would be called ‘Masa’ of the Jihad. Masas were told to separate into two groups – one had to attend a meeting once a month and another had to provide security.
“The meetings were aimed at mobilizing people. The Ayah said that Muslim people had to worship Allah’s kindness five times a day – it is a wajib. All villagers had to ask God to bless them in the war.
"Sometimes, he would talk about the history of the Patani State which previously belonged to Malayu people. The state was seized by Siam. And Malayu people were captured as prisoners and dug the San Saeb Canal in Bangkok with their bare hands.
“Ayah also showed them that there were only Muslim people living along the San Saeb Canal. They were descendants of Malayu people in Pattani. Hence, we, as descendants of Pattani, had to fight for freedom of Pattani.”
Meetings also detailed about the movement’s way of life and its next plan.
All Muslim people must join the Jihad movement. Those with wives and children did not have to fight. They would only support the movement. The movement focused on a way of life in which people would have to depend on themselves. They grew their own vegetables, raised ducks, chickens, cows and fish and stockpiled rice and medicines as when the war began we could not go out. However, we would still have our own supplies.
“If one died during war, it was a zahit (which means to die in a God’s way), but the movement uses the word to mean " god’s warrior." When a zahit dies, his body does not have to be cleaned. Moreover, he could take 70 other people with him to heaven.

Moving to free the country – collecting money to support the movement

The former member said that back then, he felt so proud and uplifted.
“Definitely, everybody wanted himself and the ones he loved to go to heaven”, he said.
The former member said that besides mobilization meetings, the organization also had ten rules.
“Actually, there were ten, but I could remember only five. All members have to undergo all religious activities, obey leaders, do not unveil secrets of the movement, be punctual, and focus on movement’s tasks instead of personal ones."
The former member was one of the economic staff, responsible for collecting money from members.
“They told me to collect one baht from a person daily – as a monthly payment. For annual payment, 360 baht would be collected from everyone. And they could pay more than that if they wanted. Every tenth of a month, members would have to get the collected money to me. After that, another member would take it from me. I did not know what the organization did with the money.

Part 3

Physical training – Bravery test

Besides regular duties, all members had to receive physical training.
“This was an order of leading members. Military members were trainers. The venues were mostly homes of members in the village. At that time, there were five other people attending the training with me. The trainer would tell us to line up and jog, push up, sit up and jump. Members would receive training for three days per week, two hours daily."
He said that after the training, members would have to take a bravery test.
“The training would last a few weeks. After that, the trainer would order us to create a situation [a disturbance or violent act] in the village and nearby villages. In my first time, a plan was set. Members would create a situation twice in a night. Members were separated into two groups, five each. The first group would attack road signs and the second one would attack the foot of a bridge at the entrance of the village. Both groups would have military members.”
“After the meeting, when all members got the plan they would go home immediately to prepare for the attacks. Some members and I had to seek two tires, rags, three liters of benzene and two cans of spray paint. Military members would bring nails. When the time came, members would meet up at the appointment spot. We met up at 8:00 pm that night. My friend and I helped throw nails on the main road. The rest cut trees down to block the road. After the mission completed, my friends and me got back to my place to rest and wait for the next mission.”
“When the time for the second mission came – around 1.30 am – other members and I brought tools to create a situation again. Rag would be put in both tires. Benzene was poured onto the tires. Afterwards, we would put one tire on the road, and another one would be a bit away from the first one. Benzene would be poured from one tire to another before setting fire. Other leftovers like the gallon jug and rag would be thrown into the fire.”
He said that after the mission, they all went back home like nothing happened. The next morning, they heard people saying that last night, nails were thrown along the road. Tires were burnt and trees were cut to block the road. Moreover, residents in a nearby village were decapitated. So, he knew that there were also other activities.

Monitoring officials

Besides collecting money, he also had to do several tasks, especially providing security.
“At first, there was no obvious security measures. Members just had to monitor movements of officials going in and out of the village. At the end of 2005, leading members ordered the organization of a security system. Military and other members would act as guards together.
To act as a guard, we were unarmed. We had only walkie-talkies. We were only members and were responsible only for monitoring movements of officials and report them to members in the nearby village by walkie-talkie. We were not allowed to talk about other issues in the walkie-talkie. In my village, there were four groups of security guards, two each. A group would have to provide security from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am.
“When officials came, members would use a code to communicate with other members in their own and nearby villages. The code were, for instance, a fruit truck is going up there, which meant an official’s vehicle was going in the village, or your relatives are coming, which meant officials are going into the village. But, those codes were used only in my group. I did not know the codes of other villages. I also knew that some villages would have women member acting as guards. But, in my village, all guards were men,” he said.
Spending many years with the movement, he felt that there was only chaos and strain. Last year, a team of government officers helped develop the village and showed their sincerity. Village residents felt that they could try officers and turned their back to the movement.

Posted in The Thai Deep South | Leave a comment

Bangkok beats London in carbon pollution

Bangkok beats London in carbon pollutionReuters, April 22, 2009

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Zack and Miri make a porno banned by National Film Board

Zack and Miri make a porno banned by National Film BoardThe Nation, April 21, 2009
…”The screening of this film may encourage copycats here,” Culture Ministry permanent secretary Vira Rojpojchanarat said Tuesday.

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‘In Thailand, the Law of the Jungle Prevails’

‘In Thailand, the Law of the Jungle Prevails’ Spiegel Online, April 20, 2009
[Thanks to Nils for pointing this out.]
In a SPIEGEL interview, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the governor of Bangkok and a cousin of the king, condemns former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and criticizes the Thai Army. He says he is deeply concerned about the state of Thailand and the future of the monarchy…

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The Recent Songkran Festival

The Recent Songkran Festival – Kha parjam Wan Arthit (Sunday’s article) by Khwad, Daily News, April 19, 2009
The title is “The Recent Songkran Festival”

Top right: There is another historical page of the tragic Songkran 2009 –
The word close to the map of Thailand says “breakup” [This refers to the regionally based political movements to take over the country and overturn the aristocracy.]

Middle left: The little canary has to move again –
The captions around Thaksin say “Head to Africa” and “Goodbye Dubai” ["Little canary" is a Thai idiom to describe those who have to be far away their homeland.]

Middle right: It is for Thais to learn to be accustomed to living with the emergency decree

Lower middle left:
The buses that were seized by the red today are to be seized by some other groups.
The man, who appears to be Newin because of his large lower lip, is saying “4,000 buses” [As with the articles above there is much conjecture that Newin who controls one of the largest parties in the coalitions has an interest in making the reds and yellows fight as this weakens them and will pave the way for his own ascension to power.]

Lower middle right: The word "two standards" is still to be proved by the government of the O-BA-MARK” [The government is said to apply different standards to the PAD and UDD–these are the "two standards." Due to the youth of PM Aphisit, he is often compared to U.S. President Obama–thus the name "O-BA-MARK" (mark being the nickname of Aphisit). The burning airport represent the "burning issue" of the two standards.]

Bottom: At least  there is one thing acknowledged–the government is able to succeed in doing something.
The caption by PM Abhisit reads: The government succeeds in enforcing the emergency decree and performs better than the past government of Somchai.
[Former PM Somchai (as well as Samak), both attempted to get the police or military to crack down on PAD protesters without success.
The burning OTOP plate is placed among items symbolizing things the government has been facing difficulties or criticism: the OTOP project, check distribution and the career project. OTOP is criticized for the lacking efficiency in continuing the project and the idea was copied from the past government’s policy. The career promotion project is criticized for its limited budget. The check distribution project is criticized for its delay and the procedures as well as the budget spent on the affair.]

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Trying to Kill Sondhi – April 2009

More: Unlocking the Thai world: Thai-language newspaper headlines

Political assassination – translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; April 19, 2009
Thailand’s political society and conflicts have entered a new dimension. People separate into groups, caused mainly by personal beliefs and ideas.
The conflict is also partly created by money, misleading statements or other benefits given to supporters. The generosity of Thai people is gone as they are overwhelmed by greediness and ambition.
The effort to assassin Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva twice by red-shirt members reflects the darkness of the people. They try to kill the others without any personal reasons. They were hired and lured.
Luckily, the Prime Minister escaped from the attack. But others, including Secretary to the Prime Minister Niphon Promphan, were seriously injured. In addition, Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, a leader of the People Alliance for Democracy and an advisor of ASTV, was fired upon by weapons in the middle of the city.
The political assassination can be counted as a new phenomenon in a fight for government power and personal benefits, or even personal revenge to get rid of enemies. They applied dirty strategies without considering any bad effects, for instance, people’s well being, economy, society and politics.
It is time that the Prime Minister applies decisive power under the law to bring back peace to the country and restore security. If it hesitates, bad incidents could happen and it will be too late to solve them.

To apply the law decisively – solution to current social conflict – translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit, April 19, 2009
The assassination attempt on Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, a leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the owner of ASTV channel and ASTV Manager Daily newspaper, will lead to a more serious political conflict. He played an important role in opposing former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Right now, several parties start to become worried as the assassination will create an in-depth impact. The conflict between the red-shirt and yellow-shirt parties will become worse. Yellow-shirt people will automatically believe that the ones who commit the crime are Thaksin supporters. The above situation is about to become a trigger of a battle between both parties. It will develop to a real violent fight.
It means that the current political situation of Thailand is extremely worrying. Violent incidents could happen everywhere, not only in Bangkok. An effort to bring back peace will be just a dream. The challenge is how to live our lives in chaos.
The only solution is to apply to law – precisely and decisively. The law applier will have to show that he applies the law transparently. It may take time to prove that as people are now in a state of doubt.

Thaksin’s goal – The failure of Thai government translated and summarized from Thai Rath, Column: Political News Analysis, April 19, 2009
This year, people have the longest Songkran holiday as the government wants people to have fun and be happy in order to ease the internal conflict. However, what red-shirt people did brought the country into chaos.
They blocked several roads and streets in Bangkok. The traffic became paralyzed. Many spots were attacked by bombs. The protesters also burnt down buses and took over gas trucks. The situation was so horrible that the government applied the State of Emergency, allowing military officers to take charge of the situation.
The mob fought against the military and civilians fought against the mob.
Even Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was attacked by the mob, while his secretary was seriously injured.
The military brought the situation under control and pressured leaders of the red-shirt people to dissolve the mob and surrender themselves.
Luckily, no bloodshed incident happened.
It must be admitted that the current conflicts and chaos have been halted for a while, but not permanently.
The true leader of the red-shirt mob – Thaksin Shinawatra – is not giving up as he does not achieve his goal yet.
As the leader of the mob, he announced that he wanted to mobilize the red-shirt members to face the government, aiming to create negotiation power.
He also stepped up the gathering by blocking the Government House, trying to oust the Prime Minister and the aristocracy.
He pressured Chairman of the Privy Council and statesman Gen. Prem Tinansulanonda, Privy Councilor Gen. Surayud Chulanont and Privy Councilor Charnchai Likhitjita to quit their positions.
Moreover, he also tried to negotiate with some parties to give him back 50 billion baht, from his total assets of 76 billion baht, and dismiss all of his charges.
However, secret negotiations did not enable him to achieve his goal.
Consequently, he stepped up the protest – aimed at bringing an absolute conflict among Thai people. He tried to make Thailand a failed government state.
He tried to tell the world through international media that Thailand’s current government did not come from a right election and it was an outcome of a military coup.
He talked about Thailand’s legal processes in a bad way. He also discredited the Chairman of the Privy Council and Privy Councilors.
He wanted international organizations like the United Nations to give him a hand. However, it did not work as the government was able to control the mob in the last minute.
Nevertheless, he could make the ASEAN Summit in Pattaya collapse.
Leader of ten ASEAN countries and other partners had to make their way home.
International media reported the news, which greatly affected Thailand’s investment and tourism.
Leaders of the mob will have to talk to seek solutions. However, it depends on if they still have to listen to the ‘big boss’. If they still have to, the problem can never be ended.

Red-shirt and yellow-shirt people – translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily, Author: Chaianant Samutwanich, April 20, 2009
I once said that there was no solution to Thailand’s political crisis and did not see that a political revolution would help. The main problem is Thai people’s character and behavior, mostly of those who want a social revolution. This is a major factor which affects political behavior.
During the Songkran festival, we have seen actions which tell about cultural background. The mob was mobilized by a group of leaders who were poor and had family problems. They were angry at society and those who possess a better life.
These people gathered for the advantage of one person [Thaksin]. They expressed aggressiveness and violence. They attacked the Prime Minister’s car, officials and the Prime Minister’s Secretary. Therefore, we must admit that Thai society is seriously sick. This problem needs to be solved before it gets worse. The child raising revolution is needed before the political revolution.
All leaders of the red-shirt people have mental problems. The mass was also full of madness, as well as drunk people.
They were noticeably different to yellow-shirt people, who have a concrete political point and were hugely supported. Leaders of yellow-shirt people are various, educated and well-known, while the red-shirt mob was led by a group of people who were not well-known and not accepted.
The effort to assassinate Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul shows that even though the red-shirt mob was over, problems in Thai politics do not end yet.
The columnist tells Abhisit Vejjajiva that this sort of politics is not worth for him to get involved in. If he were Abhisit, he would either get rid of powerful people or quit.

To arrest the person behind the assassination of Sondhi is part of the national agenda – A bid to restore military and police image – translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; April 20, 2009
The attempt to assassinate Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, a leader of the People Alliance for Democracy, becomes the talk of the town. Even international media report about the matter. Therefore, it automatically becomes the responsibility of the Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government to seek the answer of the incident. It will not only restore the confidence of Thailand, but also restore the image of the country’s security image after the ASEAN Summit in Pattaya was cancelled.
Many notices on the matter, like weapons used, the way the crime was committed, the time of the incident and the fact that Bangkok was under the State of Emergency, reflect that ordinary people, who have nothing to do with weapon, would not be able to commit such a crime.
In addition, the son of Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, leaders of the PAD and even a leader of the red-shirt mob – Mr. Jatuporn Promphan – see that the crime, which challenges the power of the government and the State of Emergency, cannot be done if the police or military do not get involved.
Once all notices go in the same way – government officials are involved in the assassination – the Abhisit government has a responsibility to seek the truth and answer to the question about the influence and power of those colored people.

The bloodshed formula translated and summarized from Krungthep Turakit; Column: Tracking politics; Author: Pracha Burapavithee; April 10, 2009
The red shirt protest under the leadership of the “Truth Today” team chooses the path that leads to the “breakup” [of the government] by mean of the seizure of the Victory Monument. This is the same policy to pressure the incumbent government which is not different from the yellow counterpart [the PAD].
We comment that this is not a surprise strategy, but the same old “bloodshed formula” like in the past when the October 14, 1973 and the Black May 1992 events occurred. The October 14, 1973 bloodshed event allowed the country to have an “appointed government” and the after the Black May 1992 event the government was formed and joined by [unelected] outsiders. This is, therefore, why we say a bloodshed formula is the formula to make change in politics. The strategy to wreak chaos in the city is not deceptive, but well-planned and launched by some old army figure who joined hands with some influential army figure, close aide of a former leader [Thaksin], aimed at bringing the army to be involved. THis is to create the situation like in the past when the mass of the people was stirred up to fight the army power. THis situation then led to pave the way for political change.

Hardcore key man – Beware the red shirt’s war plan
translated and summarized from Matichon; April 9, 2009
The red shirt protest announced its goal to topple the aristocracy in the country and this is to be closely watched as the UDD war strategy. The key men monitoring the protests consist of three teams. First, the front team operating the movements for the gathering are Veere Musikapong, Jatuporn Prompan and Nuttawut Saikuer. Second, the team on overall strategy are the Phea Thai opposition party members and the disbanded politicians. The only man who knows the top policy is ousted Premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The third team is the special operational team of pro-red high rank military officials including former ISOC Deputy Director Gen Pallop Pinmanee.
It is a dangerous time for Thailand as the reds are out to topple aristocracy in the country.

Daily News, April 19, 2009 – Anupong [Commander-in-Chief] urges police to follow up with the hunt of gunmen involved with Sondhi’s shooting attack – Stating army general rank holder is mastermind
Army Commander-in-Chief bets his life to prove the army kills no one – The emergency decree is prolonged – Every injured person to be helped

Daily News, April 19, 2009 –
The caption is reads: Assassin – The authorities (top left) inspect the spot where the gunman gang opened fire on the van close to the Bangkhunprom intersection causing Sondhi Limthongkul (top right) to suffer injury on his right temple. The doctor performed a surgical operation to save his life. Sondhi has his charm cloth (below right) with him all the time. The picture below left and in the middle shows the close circuit camera’s footage with the record of Sondhi’s van and the pickup of suspects passing the Thewes Intersection.

Thai Rath, April 19, 2009 – Thaksin’s target – The Thai government’s failure
At the bottom: Red Shirt chaos “breaks” Asean summit – riles up the people’s anger

Kom Chad Luek, April 18, 2009 – Miracle Sondhi (survives) –
The tragic Songkran – The 84 bullets of a weapon – Car damaged – Part of bullet left injured in head – Police confused as many accusers involved – The PAD believes Army post holder involved
In the bid of life [he bets his life] – Anupong insists no deaths [from the army crackdown]
The reasons of the mob dissolution – Emergency decree prolonged

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(Photo: Graham)

“Gay-Cut” – April 18, 2009

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Old photos

(Source: Undated postcard)

Above: Farmers returning home

Old photos – April 18, 2009

(Source: Vintage photo)

Above: Thai man, 1860
A thread about this man is here

Leave a comment

Phan Fa Bridge

(Source: Undated postcard)

Phan Fa Bridge – April 18, 2009
Other views of Phan Far Bridge are here.

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Thai teenager is one of the tallest in the world

Thai teenager is one of the tallest in the world – April 15, 2009
Thanks to Nils for pointing this out.

The tallest teenagers in the worldTelegraph, April 9, 2009
…Another of the teenagers to appear in the documentary is 17-year-old Thai Malee Duangdee. At 6ft 10in she is the tallest girl in the world. Her stature is due to a tumour on her pituitary gland which makes her body produce too much growth hormone. Malee had two unsuccessful operations to remove the tumour and her only hope is a tumour-shrinking drug which her father, a poorly paid labourer, cannot afford.

In Thailand, 360 km east of Bangkok, Thailand’s state of TorYouTube
A Japanese TV report from 2006, when she was 14 years old and 207 cm (6ft 9.5in). If you listen closely, you can hear the commentator saying that she is from Trat province (“Toratu”) at 0:05 into the video…

Superhuman ITV, April 8, 2009
…Craig Glenday, editor of the Guinness World Records book, travels from London to Bangkok to verify a possible new world record. 17-year-old Malee Duangdee has found it hard to be accepted because of her height. Her father tells the programme: “When she walked down the street many people called her a giant and laughed at her.”
Malee says: “So many times I ask myself why? I sit in front of the mirror and cry. Why am I not the same as other people.” Malee’s height is caused by a tumour on her pituitary gland, a condition which could be fatal. She desperately needs expensive drugs and the fame of holding a Guinness World Record may bring the money her family needs for her treatment.

Teeny whoppersThe Sun, April 8, 2009
…MALEE DUANGDEE, 17, 6ft 10in, now tallest girl in the world. BEST THING: “Getting the money I need to have medical treatment.” WORST THING: “Being teased and being worried about my health.” With the average height of a woman in Thailand less than 5ft 2in, Malee really does stand out. Her amazing stature is due to a tumour on her pituitary gland which makes her body produce too much growth hormone…

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Songkran Cartoons 2009

The Songkran fairy on the tiger – April 15, 2009

Translated and summarized from Krungtepturakit, March, 2009
Explanation of the Songkran cards: The description of the picture of the Songkran Festival 2009 fairy symbol, issued by the Ministry of Culture says
"Songkran Fairy: (Thewi or Queen of the festival, rotating on the yearly basis and coming to earth during the celebration of the Feast)."
The National Culture Commission Office, the Ministry of Culture reveals the appearance of the Songkran Fairy of the Songkran festival 2009 (the year of cow), named “Ko Raka Thewi”, her right hand holding the sword and her left hand holding a walking stick. The fairy comes to the earth in her sleeping position laying on the back of tiger that is her servant.
The picture was designed by famous cartoonist Om Ratchavetaya

Other Ministry of Culture Songkran cards are here

And on the forum: I’m always weirded out by how totally un-Thai the characters in Ministry of Culture publications look.  Huge googly cartoon eyes, pearly white skin, the obscenely rounded faces of fat Chinese baby idols… :confused: Compare to how it’s done in Singapore.

Another take on the Songkran fairy is the editorial cartoon below:

The Songkran Festival fairy riding the tiger – by Arun, Krungthepturakit, March 25, 2009
The drawing shows the Songkran Festival fairy for 2009 represented by Democrat PM Abhisit Vejjajiva. The flag says “Songkran Festival 2009” and his bullhorn reads “loans.”
Thaksin is represented as a tiger Abhisit is riding.
At the bottom right the caption reads "This is really the truth."

Songkran prophecy 2009
translated and summarized from Matichon, March 24, 2009
From the prophecy of Miss Songkran in 2009, we can see that the Songkran Day is on Monday. It is foreseen that high-ranking officials and all Khunyings and Khunnai will gain power. Tuesday is the ‘Nao’ Day. It is said that fruit will be expensive. Wednesday is the New Year’s Day, scholars will be delightful. To see Miss Songkran lying with her eyes shut on a tiger’s back means that the King will have glorious future. It also warns people not to be tempted by luxurious stuff. The prophecy is in line with the current economic situation, which leads to unemployment and diseases. Luckily, Miss Songkran has a dagger (Phra Khan) as her weapon, which means that it will help protect and bring the country out of crises.

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Red Shirt Protest Headlines – April 13-14, 2009

Red Shirt protest main page – March-April 2009

(Source: Daily News)

The stressful year of the cowDaily News, April 13, 2009
Title: All cool for merry Songkran’s day
Top left: The men in the window left to right: Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kajronprasart, Privy Council President Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda, Commander-in-Chief Gen. Anupong Paojinda
The sign under the window reads: Return home sons! [The refers to these authority figures telling the rural Red Shirt supporters to return to their homes.]
The man climbing a ladder on the building is UDD leader Chatuporn Prompan.
Below on TV, an NBT reporter throws water on a Red Shirt.
PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Tuagsuban are on the roof of the car.
The man climbing the ladder to the Thaksin billboard is Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, who was accused by the red-shirt people of being involving with the PAD. On the back of his shirt is the word "foreign" referring to his post as Foreign Minister.
The sign that the buffalo is holding reads "Stressful year of the cow"

Army pressure ends Thai protest BBC, April 14, 2009
…One such protest leader, Jakrapap Penkair, told the BBC that the campaign may be taken underground – and he did not rule out non-peaceful means in the future to remove the current "disguised dictatorship".
"The protest is over, the campaign is not. It fell on deaf ears as expected, but the showing off of the people’s power could have changed [the government’s] mind slightly.
"We move fast to the second phase… when they will be forced to hear us six months to a year from now," he said, without giving any details…

Who planned Bangkok’s urban warfare? – April 14, 2009
From Urban-terrorism tactics alienating the public: …They used public buses to block the streets, installed three gas trucks at Din Daeng, Ayutthaya Road and Soi Rangnam near Victory Monument and threw petrol bombs, sticks and bricks at the security forces.
The tactics are similar to those employed by the Krathing Daeng Group, which during the October 1976 crisis played a catalytic role in suppressing students at Thammasat University.
An ex-general by the abbreviated name of PP is believed to be the mastermind behind the current use of these terrorist tactics…

The Nation is referring to General Panlop Pinmanee

(Source: NBT)

Songkran on Khao Sarn Road – April 13, 2009
Traffic cam on NBT shows the very sparse crowd on Khao Sarn Road for Songkran. Usually it is like this.

Red protesters told to disperse; "arson" plots unveiledThe Nation, April 14, 2009

The "line up for 500 baht" gaffe YouTube, April 14, 2009
Thanks to the many who pointed this out.

US condemns Thai violence by pro-Thaksin protests The Nation, April 14, 2009

Red Shirt protest headlines – April 13-14, 2009

Daily News, April 14, 2009 – The headline in the black area says "Mark [PM Abhisit] arm-in-arm with Army to finish off the Reds”

ThaiRath, April 14, 2009 – Armored forces deployed to handle red shirt protest – Emergency decree announced in Bangkok and 5 provinces – the UDD broke the Prime Minister’s Mercedes Benz – Critical law announced to tackle protestors – Thaksin calls up mob to constantly continue protest

ThaiRath, April 13, 2009 –
Hotel seizure protest troubles leaders – World’s scandalous issue

Daily News, April 14, 2009 – The Prime Minister’s secretary was taken by the reds

ThaiRath, April 14, 2009 –
“Blockade and hunt” – The red shirt protest surrounded to break the window of the car that Prime Minister Abhisit and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Tuagsuban sit in and at the same time the Prime Minister’s secretary Nipon Prompan was being taken out from the car and sent to the hospital.

Red Shirt protest main page – March-April 2009

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Retaking Bangkok street by street – April 13, 2009

(Source: NBT)

Above: Soldiers approach Victory Monument

Thai TV has some fascinating footage of soldiers moving street by street and pushing the Red Shirts back. Since the Red Shirts banished reporters from their side, all the reporting is going on from the soldiers’ point of view.

Red Shirt protest main page – March-April 2009

(Source: NBT)

Above: Soldiers fire into the air as they advance on a Red Shirt line

(Source: NBT)

Above and below: Series of shots as they go past an alley that appears blocked. They look down and a solder motions to the taxi in the distance to stop blocking the street. The taxi pulls away out of the street.

(Source: NBT)

(Source: NBT)

(Source: NBT)

Red Shirt protest main page – March-April 2009

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