Thai dictatorship arrests people for playing bridge

This 3 February 2016 video is about the Thai dictatorship police arresting people for the ‘crime’ of playing the card game bridge.

The military dictatorship in Thailand arrests people for opposing corruption, for reading George Orwell’s novel 1984, for opposing treatment of workers like slaves by corporations, for ‘insulting’ the king’s dog, and for lots of other stuff.

Including, we know now, for playing bridge.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Elderly people in Thailand arrested because of bridge game

Today, 15:49

Thai police have arrested a group of 32 elderly people in Pattaya because they were playing bridge. They violated a law that stipulates that a person may not possess more than 120 playing cards, local newspaper Pattaya One writes.

The police raided an apartment where there are regular meetings of an English bridge club for foreigners. They had received a hint that there would be gambling, and most forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand.

The elderly people were not playing for money, so the police used an old law from 1935 curbing playing cards. All bridge players were on that basis taken to the police station.

The group consisted among others of British, Swedish and Australian people. Among those arrested was a Dutch 84-year-old woman. They were all released on bail later.

After 12 hours in police cells. And after they had paid fines of 5000 baht.

Thailand dictatorship arrests students

This video says about itself:

Bangkok museum showcases Thai history of torture and death

Bangkok, 10 Oct 2011 (EFE) (Camera: Gaspar Ruiz-Canela).- The cruel history of torture and the evolution of the death penalty in Thailand are the focus of a museum in a old Bangkok prison, in what is an informative guide to penitentiary life and forms of punishment.

By James Tweedie:

Thailand: Four students charged with political gathering

Friday 22nd January 2016

One student seized from street corner by ‘army officers’ in unmarked trucks

FOUR Thai students opposed to the military junta, including one snatched off the street at night, were charged yesterday with gathering publicly for political purposes.

The four members of the New Democracy Movement were taken to a military court yesterday to be charged under orders banning groups of five or more people from such activity.

One of the four, Siriwich Serithiwat, alias Ja New, was seized at a busy street corner on Wednesday night by unidentified men thought to be army officers.

His friend Sassawat Komneeyawanich, who witnessed the snatch, said that eight officers in two pick-up trucks with concealed number plates picked him up in front of a group of students and others.

The officers bundled him into a car without producing an arrest warrant or saying where they were taking him.

Mr Serithiwat reportedly said he had been blindfolded, driven to a park and beaten up and that he heard guns being cocked near him, although no-one specifically threatened his life.

The student group released video footage of the incident, which circulated widely on social media.

This 20 January 2016 video from Thailand is called Soldiers abduct anti-junta student

Junta spokesman Colonel Winchai Suvari claimed that Mr Serithiwat’s arrest had been conducted in a legal manner, but that some people had tried to distort the facts.

He described Mr Serithiwat’s recent activities as socially provocative and suggested that the authorities would closely scrutinise those who were publicising the incident.

Warrants for the arrest of Mr Serithiwat and five others had been issued earlier by the Bangkok military court.

They were among 11 students accused of breaching the military order against political gatherings after their attempt to protest at Rajabhakti park in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

Years in jail for insulting Thai royal dog?

Men pose next to a 10-metre high dog statue, part of the promotional effort for a film based on Thai royal dog Tongdaeng's life. photo: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Thai factory worker faces jail for insulting the king’s dog online

A best-selling book about the dog, named Tondaeng, describes her as a ‘respectful dog with proper manners’

Doug Bolton

A Thai factory worker could go to prison for a “sarcastic” post on social media in which he disparaged the king’s dog, Tongdaeng.

The worker, Thanakorn Siripaiboon, faces years in prison for his crimes, which include sedition and insulting the king.

As the New York Times reports, Siripaiboon’s lawyer, Anon Numpa, said the precise insult towards the dog was not specified in the military court where he was charged.

Siripaiboon is also accused of sharing a post on Facebook that alleged corruption in the construction of a monument to previous Thai kings.

The unusual case draws attention to the increasing harsh penalties handed to those who criticise the country’s king, queen, heir apparent or regent. Since a military coup in Thailand last year, authorities have been cracking down on any type of dissent.

Numpa still expressed surprise that the law that forbids criticism of the royals would be extended to the king’s dog, however.

Siripaiboon was arrested at his Bangkok home last week, and had his arraignment on Monday.

Tongdaeng, or Copper, was a stray rescued by Thailand’s ailing 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1998.

A book, titled The Story of Tongdaeng, was written by the king in 2002 and became an instant bestseller in the country. An animated film, based on the stories in the book, also went to number two at the Thai box offices after its release last week.

In the book, Tongdaeng is described as a “respectful dog with proper manners,” who is also “humble” and “knows protocol.”

The book also notes that Tongdaeng respectfully droops her ears and lowers to the floor in the presence of the King.

According to Numpa, the next step in the case will be Siripaiboon’s indictment, but no date has yet been set by authorities.

The Bangkok-based printer of the International New York Times removed this story from the 14 December 2015 print edition of the paper: here.

LOVE YOUR SHRIMP? IT MAY HAVE BEEN PEELED BY SLAVES Modern-day slaves in Thailand may be providing your favorite seafood dish. [AP]

Slaves are used to peel and process shrimp that finds its way in to many major supermarkets and shrimp companies around the world, according to an investigative report by the Associated Press (AP) published last week. At Gig Peeling Factory in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, slaves work 16-hour days, waking up as early as 2 AM with the command, “Get up or get beaten.” Peeling shrimp in ice buckets, small children work alongside their parents, often crying, as their cold hands become numb in the troughs of shrimp: here.

Thai crown prince’s poodle, Air Chief Marshal Foo Foo, has been cremated. Death has prompted surge in coded social media comments on the subject, in a country where it is illegal to openly discuss royal succession: here.

Thailand military dictatorship bans New York Times, again

New York Times, uncensored

First, a military junta overthrew a democratically elected government in Thailand.

Then, the military dictatorship censored the Internet.

Then, the military dictatorship banned George Orwell’s novel 1984.

Then, the military dictatorship banned the New York Times.

Now, the military dictatorship has banned the New York Times again.

New York Times, as censored in Thailand

See NOS TV in the Netherlands today.

Or see Voz Is Neias today:

Bangkok – The printer of the International New York Times in Thailand refused to print an article portraying a gloomy outlook for the country, leaving in its place a large blank space at the center of Tuesday’s front page.

The printing company called the story too “sensitive” but declined to specify the offending material.

The article, titled “Thai spirits sagging with the economy” in the paper’s other Asian editions, described a moribund economy, pessimism after years of political turmoil and concern about the royal succession. The military took power in a May 2014 coup, and elections that were promised have been put off until at least 2017.

Discussion of the monarchy has always been a delicate matter in Thailand, where strict laws limit frank discussion of the royal family. But freedom of speech has been constricted even further under the military government, prompting many publications and reporters to self-censor to avoid offending the junta.

In place of the article was a two-line note that said: “The article in this space was removed by our printer in Thailand. The International New York Times and its editorial staff had no role in its removal.”

“It’s sensitive,” said the official, who declined to give her name for that reason. …

Beyond highlighting a general sour mood among Thais, the article touches on the eventual succession of the ailing 87-year-old king. Insulting the monarchy is punishable by three to 15 years in prison.

Another blank space appeared on page 6, where the rest of the article was to run. However, the article was still available online to readers in Thailand.

This is the second time in three months that the newspaper’s local printer has blocked publication of a piece about Thailand. The printer decided not to publish the entire Sept. 22 edition because it contained an article about the future of the Thai monarchy that it also called “too sensitive to print.”

Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The New York Times, said it was notified about the printer’s decision, but that the newspaper played no role in it.

Murphy said there have been rare instances in other countries where printers have chosen not to publish stories because they were deemed too sensitive. “We understand the pressures local publishers sometimes face, but we regret any censorship of our journalism,” she wrote in an email.

The newspaper, known until 2013 as the International Herald Tribune, announced recently that it was ceasing printing and distributing its print edition in Thailand as of year-end. In a letter to subscribers, it attributed the decision to rising operating costs.

The junta, which has curbed dissent through intimidation and detentions, also has said that defense of the monarchy is its priority, and has vigorously pursued prosecutions under the law. Over the past year, there has been a significant increase in convictions.

In a 41-page report on Thailand issued last month, the Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders noted that due to censorship, threats and harassment of the media and increasing use of repressive laws, the country “is now seen as one of the region’s most authoritarian regimes as regards journalists and freedom of information.”