The Dictator is happy as Larry that senior (elected) politicians in Western Europe are prepared to shake his hand.
When his European visit was announced, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s motives were explained. The Dictator:
wants to use his planned trip to Europe next month to raise his international profile as the junta inner circle has seen a softening in the stance of western countries on democratisation to enhance economic engagement with Thailand.”
The self-appointed premier fears losing face in Europe if there are demonstrations against him in any of the capitals he visits.
Hence, as widely reported, junta minions “are stepping up a crackdown on false [sic.] and misleading [sic.] information targeting the government which is spreading quickly via social media platforms.”
The police – unaccountably, a Tourist Police deputy commissioner – have been ordered to make false and misleading claims about certain anti-junta Thais in Europe. The cockeyed idea seems to be to silence them at least while The Dictator is visiting.
As far as we can tell from the media, this exercise is smoke and mirrors.
Police have targeted “a London-based Facebook user [who] posted on the KonthaiUK Facebook site a photo and a message suggesting corruption in the government’s satellite project.”
Yet no charges have been specified. The threat seems to be the message.
What happened to the big deal case against the Cambodian for “false news”? We may have missed it, but that big case seems to have vanished without a trace. Again, it seems the threatening is the important bit.
On the latest threats to Thais in exile or living overseas, Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan “said the authorities are taking legal action against people generating and spreading fake news.”
When he said “Thai authorities were also in contact with Interpol to have red notices issued for suspects who live overseas” you know this is a political exercise for he knows that bogus and unnamed “crimes” do not lead to extradition.
As well as threatening and hoping to silence those overseas, the junta is seeking to prevent news and other items it finds objectionable from circulating in Thailand. As the a policeman stated, the “suspects include ‘ordinary people’ who liked or shared the posts [from KonthaiUK Facebook] on social media.”
The Dictator hopes that such tactics can allow him to maintain face in Europe.