Back in March, when the military junta announced a “crackdown” on “dark influences” or “influential persons,” PPT listed six reasons for being worried. The fifth reason was:
“dark influences” can be defined in political terms, and the military dictatorship will certainly use the “crackdown” to weaken political opponents. As General Prayuth Chan-ocha explained: “These people could support politicians in the future, and we cannot allow them to break the law and attack the people; we should solve the political crisis to make our country more safe…”.
This is exactly what has happened.
Yesterday’s raids by scores of soldiers were almost exclusively targeted at the political rivals of the military-royalist regime. The Bangkok Post described the raids as being “part of the government’s crackdown on mafia-type figures.” It added that “[a]uthorities insisted the raids were in line with the regime’s order authorising nationwide action against people wielding ‘dark influence’.” Most of the “evidence” seized through illegal searches was political paraphernalia and computers, which will now be used to seek lese majeste, sedition or computer crimes charges. In such cases, the planting of evidence has been seen in the past. Trumped-up charges have so far been laid.
As well, the thugs raiding the houses destroyed evidence about the raids. Rather than raiding the mafia, this seems like the mafia doing the raids.
The political nature of the raids and the lack of attention to “influential figures” is seen in two other arrests associated with the raids. Sombat Thongyoi, a cameraman associated with red shirts, and dog lese majeste victim Thanakorn Siripaiboon.
These are political arrests, following Prayuth’s script.