Monday, 10 October 2016

The Weekly Briefing: 3-9 October 2016

Hong Kong Activist Joshua Wong detained in Thailand at China’s request

On 5 October 2016, Thai immigration authorities detained Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong after he arrived at Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) for 12 hours. Netiwit Chotipatpaisal, the Thai student who had invited Mr Wong to talk and who expected to meet him at the airport, was the one who notified Demosisto of his detention

Joshua Wong talking to the press after arriving back in Hong Kong. Photograph: Eric Cheung

According to the report, Joshua Wong was barred from entering Thailand at the request of Chinese Government. Wong told reporters that he was held in a windowless holding cell at the Bangkok airport. He said he was not given a clear explanation for his detention and was not allowed to contact his family or a lawyer.

He had been invited by Thai student activist Netiwit Chotipatpaisal to address politics students to mark the 40th anniversary of a deadly government crackdown.

Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, together with other students from Chulalongkorn University, held a protest demanding that the junta release 19-year-old student activist Joshua Wong,

Thai student activists from New Democracy Group hold a brief protest at the Chinese embassy in Bangkok, demanding Thailand and China to explain Joshua Wong's denied entry.

On 6 October 2016, Wong made a video call on Skype from Hong Kong to the university that lasted about 30 minutes from 7.30pm to 8pm. 

He also agreed to speak only about his life, his studies, political changes after Hong Kong returned to China, and the massive pro-democracy known as the "Umbrella Movement"

Complaint dropped against brother of Thai Junta leader

Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha picture: Komchadlue

On 6 Ocotober 2016, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)  dropped a complaint against bother of Thai junta leader Preecha Chan-o-cha, who was accused of abusing his power to appoint his son as an army officer. NACC found Gen Preecha was empowered to approve selections of personnel for jobs in the military.

In September 2016, the brother of Thailand's junta leader Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha has accused of corruption over several construction projects linked to his son. According to documents published by Isra News, Pathompol’s company, called Contemporary Construction, won contracts from the Third Region Army in March 2015 and April 2016 worth a total 26.8 million baht.

For the first, the company took 13.6 million baht to build a meeting hall on an army base in Phetchabun province. The second was to construct family residences for 10 commissioned officers at an army hospital in Tak province, at a budget of 13.2 million baht.
The European Parliament: the case of Andy Hall

On 6 October 2016, The case of Hall was raised in the European Parliament. Thailand recently convicted Hall, a British human rights activist, for revealing serious human rights violations and illegal activities in a Thai pineapple processor Natural Fruit Company Ltd. The European Parliament backed a resolution calling on Thailand to make more progress against the exploitation of migrant workers, to reform its defamation laws and abide by international conventions.

Here is Thailand's response to The EU Parliament resolutions:

"..Thai Government is not a party to any of these cases and does not have any influence over the judicial process which is independent, separate and distinct from the executive branch. The Thai judicial system adheres to the utmost integrity, neutrality and transparency, as well as the principle of non-discrimination, in line with international standards. In this respect, Mr. Andy Hall is fully entitled to the right to a fair trial and he can appeal the court decision."

Thai University Massacre of 6 October 1976

On 6 October 2016, around 200 students and survivors  gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the Oct 6, 1979 killings at Thammasat University to remember the 1976 massacre and laid wreaths at a memorial.

No perpetrators were ever punished in wake of massacre
The massacre, which took place in the morning of Oct 6, 1976 came after months of tension between right-wing groups and left-leaning university students, who were protesting the return of former military leaders Praphas Charusathien and Thanom Kittikachorn, as well as the political amnesty reportedly granted to them. The incident saw heavily armed police and border police forces firing upon thousands of university students who had been inside the campus. Those who escaped were beaten up and some were killed by a right wing mob surrounding the university. Officially, 46 people died, but survivors have said that there are many victims still unaccounted for.

List of new National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members

On 8 October 2016, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha submitted the all-male list of new National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members for royal endorsement. Twenty-eight of the 33 new lawmakers handpicked by the junta chief are military and police generals

Earlier, The National Legislative Assembly amended the 2014 interim constitution and increased their number by 30 members, from 220 to 250.

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