Weekly News Magazines: What Happened to Joke, April, 2019

From Lokwannee, April 12-19, 2019
Main cover reads: Let’s play together!
On the water gun: Article 116

[Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn is facing a sedition charge (due to violating Article 116) and the party’s secretary-general Piyabutr will face a charge that he violated the Computer Act. When Thanathorn went to the police station to acknowledge the charges, he made the Hunger Games three-finger salute to his supporters. The salute has been used by those opposed to junta rule in Thailand. The image on the cover the military represented as a dinosaur to represent its backwards or old-fashioned nature having to contend with resistance to its rule.]

From Matichon Weekly, April 12-18, 2019
Main cover reads: Lonely in the shadow of ‘Joke’

[Refers to a surprise order to transfer country’s highest-profile policeman Pol. Lt. Gen. Surachate ‘Big Joke’ Hakparn to the Royal Thai Police Operation Center with no clear reason given.
A “transfer” like this, moving a figure from a post where they have many men under their command to a post where there are essentially no men under their command (an “inactive post”) is the Thai’s indirect way of firing someone.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Surachate is known for spearheading a crackdown on the notoriously lax immigration rules and ejecting many foreign over-stayers from the country.
He was a rising star in the police who ran big media events to publicize his accomplishments. He also had very close ties with Deputy PM Prawit.
Theories were reported in the Thai-language media about why he was removed from his post. As usual, the English-language media sanitized the coverage for foreigners just saying there was no reported reason for the transfer.
Prominent theories from the Thai-language press included that a cosmetics company owner who was accused of some sort of fraud by Pol. Lt. Joke had top-level connections and was able get him sacked. In this theory the sacking was the final straw as Pol. Lt. Joke’s efforts at immigration reform stepped on the toes of the criminals who ran fraud in department–namely thousands of police officers who were happy to see him go.
Another theory had to do with Pol. Lt. Joke’s links to Thaksin. Pol. Lt. Joke’s father was a police officer who worked for the father of Thaksin’s ex-wife Pojaman. In this theory, it is thought that Pol. Lt. Joke’s stellar rise in the public eye risked his eventual elevation to the head of the Royal Thai Police.
As demonstrated in protests in 2009 and 2010, the Royal Thai Police are key to controlling events on the ground and often seemed to act counter to military wishes as their loyalties are thought to remain with Thaksin.
Thus the military might not have wanted to risk Pol. Lt. Joke rising to control the police.]

Top: Splash water ‘wisdom’ of the northern Songkran to the nationwide Songkran.
[Refers to famous Thai festival Songkran held April 13-15 every year. This festival is very famous and was once more celebrated in the North, particularly Chiang Mai. In the last hundred years, Songkran, along with other regional festivals, have been co-opted to become national festivals that represent the entire country.]

From Manager Weekly, April 12-19, 2019
Main cover reads: One strike! [white] Feeling a thrill of fear to the intestines.

[Another reference to Pol. Lt. Joke who was summarily removed from his post. After the order was effective, his social media accounts – Facebook and Twitter plus the Immigration Bureau Facebook page – were offline and led to people put a hastag seeking him. We do not think the headline is a Thai proverb or idiom but, just used to illustrate the shock of the unexpected order.]
Top: “Big Tu” can continue going [black] good sign from “Pa” Please don’t waste it.
[Refers to the sign from Privy Council president and statesman Prem Tinsulanonda that was thought to support PM Prayuth (whose nickname is “Tu”) to form a government. He commented that the government should be clean and honest.
The headline warns PM Prayuth not to waste the chance if he becomes prime minister.
“Pa” means father. Prem is nicknamed “Pa Prem” to show respect for him as a father.]
Bottom left: “Aum” won’t be patient. Detect the lie “Pok” secretly went hangout!!??
[Refers to the gossipy love story of famous actress Patchrapa “Aum” Chaichua and Thai celebrity Pratarnwong “Pok” Phornprapha. Recently, the couple broke up and people have been intensely curious about why.]

Right: UAE has Man City Qatar has PSG. [black] It’s time for Saudi to invest 3 billion for buying ‘Red Devil’
[Refers to the investment from the Middle East into the world football industry. Currently, Manchester City FC is owned by a UAE businessman similar to the Paris Saint-Germain FC which is owned by a businessman from Qatar. Recently, there was a rumor that Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman plans to takeover famous football team Manchester United, known as ‘Red Devil’ for £3.8 billion. However, he denied the news.]

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