Surrounded by a group of people cheering indifferently, various members of 10-strong group Rap Against Dictatorship take it in turns to lay down bars about corruption, greed, oppression and military rule in Thailand. The song “Prathet Ku Mee”, which means “Which Is My Country”, was only released in mid-October but has already amassed almost 22m views on Youtube, and around 810,000 “likes”.
But it isn’t only fans that have picked up on the hit.
It was circulated by various media outlets that Thai police were considering charging the rap in accordance with the Computer Crime Act group for “putting false information into cyberspace”, the Nation reported. However, authorities came out on Tuesday to deny that claim.
Deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said no one had been called in for questioning and there was not enough evidence yet to charge the rappers. He added, though, that he would personally file a charge against the group for accusing him of trying to arrest them.
Police major general Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, deputy director of the police’s Technology Crime Suppression Division, appeared to agree.
“Phuyai (senior or powerful people) must accept [the] fact that it is not possible to prohibit or restrict personal opinions, especially among the youth. Adults should see them as views from another that they should listen to,” he said.
He added, “those who believe this kind of freedom of expression might hurt the country or people’s feelings should also understand that prosecution must be based on facts. The artists – and all sides – must be treated fairly so everything is resolved smoothly.”
Continue reading Southeast Asia Globe: Thai rap group causing stir with viral song that slams junta
Dozens of Redshirt supporters placed flowers Wednesday morning at the pedestrian overpass where a taxi driver killed himself 12 years ago today.
Nattawut Saikua, Thida Thavornseth, Weng Tojirakarn are among dozens of people to converge on the overpass in front of Thairath Newspaper to mourn the death of Nuamthong Praiwan, who committed suicide to protest the 2006 coup.
“In my next life, I hope not to see another coup,” the 60-year-old man wrote in his suicide note, a message engraved onto a memorial pillar erected at the location.
Nuamthong hanged himself at the overpass on the night of Oct. 31, 2006, days after the Sept. 19 coup. One month before he killed himself, he was seriously injured after ramming his taxi into an army tank supporting the coup at the Royal Plaza.
Continue reading Khaosod English: Anti-Coup Cabbie’s Suicide Remembered 12 Years On
A pre-election dialogue on the lifting of the political ban will proceed as planned and should take place in early December at the latest, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Speaking during a mobile cabinet meeting in Chiang Rai, Gen Prayut said preparations are under way for the planned discussion between the regime and political parties, but when it takes place has not yet been determined.
He said it should take place in late November or early December at the latest, adding that he has asked Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam to collect opinions, formal and informal, from concerned parties for the time being.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has relaxed the ban, allowing political parties to hold meetings to select party executives, recruit members, give opinions on the demarcation of constituencies, and conduct primary votes to choose poll candidates.
However, the regime still maintains the ban on public gatherings of more than five people and political campaigning.
Pheu Thai is one of the latest parties to have convened a meeting to elect its executives. Pol Lt Gen Viroj Pao-in, who previously served as its acting leader, was voted its new leader with Phumtham Vechayachai as secretary-general.
Gen Prayut yesterday also refused to discuss his political future, saying now was not the time for him to say anything and urged people not to focus on the matter.
Earlier, the prime minister admitted he was interested in politics which intensified speculation that he would seek to return as premier after the general election. The poll is tentatively scheduled for Feb 24 next year.
Continue reading Bangkok Post: Talks to lift ban by early December
Thailand’s main opposition Pheu Thai Party picked acting head Viroj Pao-in as its leader ahead of a general election expected in 2019 after more than four years of military rule.
Viroj, a police lieutenant general, was the only name on the leadership ballot, the party said in a briefing on Sunday. The party added it will decide later if Viroj — who was once a deputy prime minister in an earlier Thai administration — will be its candidate for prime minister in the national poll.
A military government has been in power in Thailand since a coup in 2014 that ousted a Pheu Thai-led administration. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the former army chief who seized power, has flagged Feb. 24 through to May as the window for holding the delayed general election. The current stretch of military rule is one of the longest since the 1970s, in a country with a history of army intervention.
Pheu Thai and other parties linked to Thaksin Shinawatra have won the past five elections, only to be unseated by the courts or the military. The discord reflects deep fissures in Thai society between urban royalists, known as the so-called yellow shirts, and Thaksin and his rural support base, the red shirts.
Source Bloomberg: Thailand’s Main Opposition Party Picks Leader
A group of rappers that released a song lambasting the junta earlier this week may have broken the law, a deputy police chief said Friday.
Deputy police chief Pol. Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said there’s a “50 percent chance” the song “My Country’s Got” (“Prathet Ku Mee“) by Rappers Against Dictatorship may have violated a junta order. Srivara did not elaborate on what order the song could have breached. In the 5-minute piece, the group of 10 take turns mocking and criticizing the junta’s rule.
“Let me warn musicians to not do anything risky against the laws because it won’t be good for you and your family if it’s found that there was wrongdoing,” Srivara said.
He added that police would summon the rappers and that they were investigating the matter. Some junta critics have been charged with sedition since the May 2014 coup. The YouTube music video had been watched more than 840,000 times by Friday morning.
Continue reading Khaosod English: Police to Summon Rappers Who Criticized Military Govt
The military junta will file a police complaint against two pro-democracy activists for allegedly filing a false police complaint against the new army chief, an unidentified source from the junta said Monday.
The junta instructed its legal officers to report to police that Ekachai Hongkangwang and colleague Chokechai Paiboonratchata filed a false complaint alleging Gen. Apirat Kongsompong had committed treason. The activists went to the police Friday after Apirat said at a press conference that he couldn’t commit to not staging a coup if there are riots after elections slated for February.
“I am not surprised and this was expected,” Ekachai said about the complaint against him and Chokechai. “If they let this slide, there will be others making the complaints so they have to extinguish the fire at its source.”
Continue reading: Khaosod English
The Pheu Thai Party is not being directed by Thaksin Shinawatra, its acting spokesman said on Tuesday, despite the suspicions of Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and an Election Commission probe that could lead to its dissolution as the election approaches.
Anusorn Iamsa-ard bluntly denied Gen Prawit’s claim that the party was under the influence of the fugitive former prime minister, saying the executive members were leading the party’s affairs without outside interference.
“I can once again confirm that Dr Thaksin has no influence on the Pheu Thai Party,” he said.
The latest denial came after Gen Prawit on Monday called on the Election Commission to conduct a probe into Thaksin’s alleged role in Pheu Thai. The former prime minister has recently raised his political profile and made comments about the election, while Pheu Thai members visited him in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Continue reading Bangkok Post: Pheu Thai denies Thaksin role in party affairs