The lese majeste ploy I

When the military regime declares that it is going after lese majeste suspects overseas it is a political ploy.

The latest use of this ruse is seen in a report from the Bangkok Post a few days ago. “Justice” Minister Army General Paiboon Khumchaya bellowed that “he had signed letters to the ambassadors of seven countries that 19 lese majeste suspects had fled to, asking for their cooperation in regard to extradition requests.”

General Paiboon knows that this act is nonsensical but he does it for the political resonance it has with the broad royalist constituency for the junta. He also knows that it will get him good press during the mourning period.

Still, that hardly accounts for his lie that he had had a “positive response” to letters his ministry “sent to the ambassadors of seven countries where lese majeste suspects are sheltering…”. He was rejected. It won’t happen.

The “Justice” Ministry said  “the seven countries included the United States, France, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.” Cambodia was also approached.

General Paiboon also lied when he said he remained hopeful that there would be extraditions. He knows there is no chance, with one possible exception. That is Cambodia.

Thailand’s junta may have a bit more political muscle in Cambodia on extradition, which The Phnom Penh Post says “Cambodian authorities are ‘processing’ a request from Thailand’s military government to extradite three Thai citizens for the crime of insulting the monarchy…”.

Extraditing Thais from Cambodia to Thailand on lese majeste would involve remaking Cambodian law. The extradition treaty between the two countries “outlines that an extraditable offence is one that carries a jail term under the laws of both countries. Insulting a king is not a criminal offence under Cambodia’s Penal Code…”.

So all the huff and puff is for domestic consumption, buffing the junta’s royalist credentials.


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