From 2011: Red Shirt pursuers at the mercy of new government

Red shirt pursuers at the mercy of new government
…Wichean Khaokham, a Pheu Thai Party candidate who was elected in Udon Thani province, said yesterday he would attend a meeting of his party today and propose the transfer of Mr Tharit from the DSI.
Mr Wichean was among the red shirt protest leaders whom the DSI prosecuted on lese majeste charges…

This article details all the events that were eventually used to disqualify Yingluck. Chief of these was the effort to remove the chief of police to make way for a Thaksin relative to take over the post (this was to enable a draconian bill to silence the media and freedom of expression).

There are also candid admissions that the police merely “followed the policies of (their) supervisors”–namely, government politicians, either Democrats or the Pheu Thai.

With the Pheu Thai coming to power in 2011, elected MPs who were facing legal action for their roles in the protests of 2010 and for lese majeste began demanding revenge against government officials responsible for bringing charges against them.

The article mentions infamous DSI chief Tharit Pengdit as the main target of Pheu Thai wrath. Tharit also had “followed the policies of his supervisors” by aggressively prosecuting Red Shirts involved in the siege of Bangkok in 2010 while ignoring the actions of the then Democrat government and the military.

The article speculates Tharit’s job was under threat, but what ended up happening was that Tharit switched sides after the Pheu Thai came to power. He then stopped prosecuting Red Shirts and became a tool used by the government in its efforts to create an amnesty bill.

During that time, the timing of DSI charges was used as a threat when Thaksin amnesty measures were being stalled. When the Democrats refused to accede to amnesty, charges was brought against the Democrat leadership in retaliation. Some of these charges included the surprise reopening of old cases, such as issues related to Abhisit’s time as a student in the UK, thought to have been settled long ago. There were also efforts made to pinpoint the military snipers who targeted the remnants of Red Shirt supporters who took refuge in a temple. All of this legal activity was done in a Thai context, announced by Deputy PM Chalerm (who is used to deliver threats because of his bold and threatening manner) under the pretext of “we will find out the truth.”

While the Westerner might interpret this as admirable (“just tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may”), such truth telling without regard for the loss of face it might cause the involved parties (no matter the right or wrong of the matter) is interpreted as a grave threat. Indeed, the threat to focus on army snipers challenged the military to either take action to overthrow the government or back down in its blocking of an amnesty that included Thaksin.

DSI chief Tharit served this plan by bringing charges at key times as well as quickly clearing Pheu Thai figures who became embroiled in legal disputes (Red shirt pursuers at the mercy of new government).

Tharit’s ability to switch sides finally came to an end as the junta put the former DSI chief under investigation in 2015.

More: The Downfall of Tharit the Chameleon

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