Millions of bats on video

This video says about itself:

Drone Captures Millions Of Swarming Bats

4 March 2016

This creepy footage of ‘millions’ of swarming bats could be evidence of Batman‘s legendary cave.

Forget Gotham City, this flying formation turned the sky above Khao no-Khao Kaeo, Thailand, dark as night.

As the video begins, the river of bats starts to appear above the lush forest below.

With the creatures corkscrewing around in unison, the drone – being operated by Charlie Onians – is swiftly surrounded by flapping wings.

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.