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Thai politics Thailand

The AP on Thai Junta’s Asset Disclosures

The AP reports:

Asset disclosures by members of Thailand’s military-dominated post-coup Cabinet reveal they are quite well-off, a trait shared with the civilian politicians they accused of corruption.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission on Friday released the asset declarations of the 33 Cabinet ministers, 25 of whom are millionaires in dollar terms.

Allegations of corruption and inappropriately gained wealth have played a major role in the country’s fractious politics in the last decade. The current government has made fighting corruption a priority, though its critics believe the policy is being wielded mainly as a weapon against its political rivals, particularly those connected to the elected government it ousted.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who as army commander led a May coup d’etat, listed 128.6 million baht ($3.9 million) in assets and 654,745 baht ($20,000) in liabilities. Under the disclosure laws, assets belonging to spouses and children under 21 must be included. He also reported the transfer of 466.5 million baht ($14.3 million) to other family members.

Before his retirement at the end of September, the general received a 1.4 million baht ($43,000) annual salary as army chief. His assets include a Mercedes Benz S600L car, a BMW 740Li Series sedan, luxury watches, rings and several pistols.

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Journalism Thai politics Thailand

‘Hunger Games’ Salute, Facebook outage and more: a Belated Roundup of Thai Coup Stories

As I mentioned in my previous post, I traveled to Bangkok to help out with our coverage following the May 22 military coup.

Here are links to a few of the stories I worked on:

And, perhaps most memorably:

The lede:

Anti-coup protesters in Thailand are adopting a symbol of resistance from a science fiction movie in which citizens struggle against a tyrannical government in a dark, dystopian future.

A few dozen demonstrators on Sunday gathered in a flash-mob style protest at a Bangkok shopping mall, where many held anti-army signs and raised their hands in a three fingered salute aimed at nearby troops.

The gestures were similar to those used by heroine Katniss Everdeen and other characters in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” a globally popular movie based on one of Suzanne Collins’s hit trilogy of books. Western films and other popular culture are widely consumed in Thailand.

To hear me discussing the three-fingered “Hunger Games” salute, see the WSJ Live video embedded above and online here.

And finally, for more on the Facebook issue, see this story I wrote just a few days ago:

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HOWTO Thai politics Thailand

Thai army declares martial law — how to follow the news

2014 05 20 bkk post coup rumors

Our main story today:

Thailand’s armed forces declared martial law early Tuesday, saying the move was intended to curb the country’s sometimes violent political conflict and wasn’t a coup d’état.

Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha issued a pair of statements at 3 a.m. and later appeared on television to say that martial law was necessary across the country to address the worsening security situation. The army later said it would censor media it deemed inflammatory. Thailand is bitterly divided between supporters of its populist government and its conservative opponents who have been massing on the streets for over half a year in a bid to topple the administration.

In the military’s first announcement, Gen. Prayuth said the escalating violence related to political protests in and around Bangkok have “a tendency to stir riot and serious chaos in several areas, which affect national security and people’s safety.”

Before Gen. Prayuth went on air, Army-run television station Channel 5 ran a ticker message across the bottom of its screen urging the public not to panic.

“The army aims to keep peace and maintain the safety and security of the people of all sides,” it said. “Please do not be alarmed and carry on with business as usual. This is not a coup.”

For ongoing updates, see our live stream of photos, text stories, and Tweets.

I also suggest checking out Bangkok Pundit, Saksith Saiyasombut, and — for academic and historical perspectives — New Mandala.

There’s also my 109-strong Twitter list of Bangkok journalists.

(Image above: The front page of The Bangkok Post on January 27, 2010.)

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Thai politics Thailand

Following Thailand protest news: blogs, my Twitter lists, local media, and more

2014 02 09 bkk shutdown

Since I’m now in Singapore covering technology news across Southeast Asia, my posts about the ongoing unrest in Thailand will probably be limited in the weeks and months ahead.

So, as I’ve done in the past, I wanted to offer suggestions for following the news as things develop.

Blogs

Twitter

Google News search

Local media

Wikipedia

Categories
Thai politics Thailand

‘Bangkok Shutdown’ update: Court says government can delay Feb. 2 election — but will it?

2014 01 25 bkk post

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that contentious elections set for February 2 can be postponed, adding further pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government to delay the vote, as antigovernment protests continue.

And:

The court said Thailand’s constitution doesn’t prohibit postponing an election in the case of an emergency or if there are other obstructions to the polls going ahead safely. It said that if the Election Commission considers it necessary to postpone the ballot, it should propose a delay to the government, which could then seek a royal decree to postpone the vote or set a new date.

And:

Varathep Rattanakorn, a minister in the prime minister’s office, told local media that the government will have to study the court’s verdict on delaying the election to determine whether it was an order or a suggestion.

But Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, one of Thailand’s five election commissioners, told reporters in southern Thailand, where he was meeting with local officials, that the commission could meet with the government on Monday. He said he expects to government to seek a new royal decree by Tuesday to scrub the Feb. 2 election date.

Reuters says:

One election commissioner, speaking to Reuters, said the vote could still go ahead on February 2 if Yingluck’s government dug in its heels.

“We will ask to meet with the prime minister and her government on Monday to discuss a new election date,” Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said. “If the government doesn’t agree to postpone the election, then the election will go ahead.”

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post says:

The caretaker government will postpone the Feb 2 election if anti-government protesters end their rallies, caretaker PM’s Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn said on Friday.

The protesters must also promise not to obstruct the new poll and there must be no boycott of it, he said.

But postponing the poll would be futile if it continues to face disruptions, Mr Varathep said. The Election Commission (EC) will invite caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to discuss the poll postponement on Monday after the court also ruled that the premier should discuss a new election date with the EC chairman.

There are also stories from the New York Times, the AP, and the BBC.

And Bangkok Pundit has a post looking at what might come next:

We have no on-the-record confirmation, but BP would not be surprised if the government agreed to delay the election. The main reason is that timing-wise, the parliament would be convened around the sound time regardless of the election being delayed or going ahead…

And:

However, this is contingent on the Democrats participating in the election and then the PDRC going home – or at least limiting their protests to more defined areas and stopping obstruction of government offices. BP expects Puea Thai to either approach PDRC and the Democrats again to see what their position is.* If no change then, what would be the point of postponing the election?