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Thread: Bodies found weighed down by cement near Thailand river were missing activists

  1. #1

    Bodies found weighed down by cement near Thailand river were missing activists

    Two bodies that washed ashore from a Thailand river in December were the corpses of anti-government activists, police have revealed. The bodies of the two people — known by the pseudonyms Puchana and Kasalong — were found on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 on the shore of the Mekong River, wrapped in brown sacks along with blocks of cement. The real names of those found were not immediately clear, but officials said they were exiled activists who disappeared from their homes in Laos, where they took shelter after fleeing Thailand.

    A third person with whom the two disappeared and worked, Surachai Danwattananusorn, is a well-known leader of the Red Shirts — an anti-military movement that staged aggressive street protests in Bangkok in 2010 that were violently crushed by the military. The disappearance of the three has raised concern among fellow activists that they were kidnapped by a death squad — either vigilantes or officially sanctioned.

    Thailand’s military announced after taking power in a 2014 coup that defending the monarchy would be a priority. However, disappearances and assassinations of political dissidents have been sporadic since the 1970s, when politicians and farm and labor leaders were targeted to remove a popular democracy after demonstrations ousted a military dictatorship in 1973.

  2. #2
    Pravit Rojanaphruk

    January 22, 2019

    A rescue worker examines a body found Dec. 29 in the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom city.

    NAKHON PHANOM — Photos emerged Tuesday to support accounts that a third body was found in the Mekong River that has since gone missing.

    Coming after two mutilated bodies recovered from the river were identified as aides of a missing prominent anti-monarchist, the photos show what appear to be a third body that can no longer be accounted for.

    Surachai Danwattanusorn, a strident critic of the monarchy, went missing early last month along with two compatriots known by the names Kasalong and Phoo Chana. All three had been living together as fugitives in exile in Laos since the 2014 coup.

    The photos show the bodies as they were reportedly found last month, wrapped head to toe in rice sacks and fishnets and tied with rope.

    The other two were retrieved and identified by DNA testing by the Forensic Science Institute as that of Phoo Chana and Kasalong. They were recovered Dec. 26 and 29, respectively. Both bodies were found handcuffed, disemboweled and stuffed with concrete.

    The third body was found Dec. 27, according to Chana Wasurukka, a local reporter for Khaosod newspaper. He said the village headman reported to police that afternoon that he had retrieved a floating body and secured it to the bank of the river with a sturdy, two-inch rope. He said the photos of the body were taken by local residents.

    “The police said they were busy, but then a navy patrol showed up and took photos. Villagers took photos too,” Chana said by phone from Nakhon Phanom on Tuesday afternoon. By the time police arrive later that afternoon, the body was gone. Chana said the headman was instructed by security forces not to talk about what happened.

    Repeated calls to the local police in Nakhon Phanom and its commander were not answered Tuesday afternoon.

    That’s led to speculation the found-and-lost body was that of Surachai, whose wife says she last heard from him on Dec. 10. It’s possible it could have become untied from the shore to re-emerge as the body recovered 50 kilometers downriver two days later in Nakhon Phanom city.

    That body’s legs were bent at the knee at a 90-degree angle, which a forensic examiner said, barring significant decay, is unlikely to have occurred naturally due to postmortem rigor mortis.

    Warning: Below are images of the bodies as found.

    The three bodies recovered at different spots last month along the Thai side of the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom province. At top, the first body recovered Dec. 26. At middle, photos purportedly showing a body recovered Dec. 27. At bottom, a third body discovered Dec. 29.

    Related stories:

    2nd Mutilated Body Linked to Anti-Monarchist Aide

    DNA Links Mekong Corpse to Monarchy Foe: Family

    Police Won’t Say if Mutilated Body is Missing Republican

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  3. #3
    there is just not enough room in the closet for all of Thailand's skeletons ...................................

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  4. #4


    Pravit Rojanaphruk
    January 26, 2019

    From left, Surachai Danwattananusorn, Chatchan Boonphawal, and Kraidet Luelert, in undated photos provided by Pranee Danwattananusorn. All three went missing in December from Laos, with all but Surachai now identified as corpses which washed up in the Mekong River days before the New Year began.

    Now that police have confirmed through DNA the identities of at least two Thais murdered and mutilated horrendously, I wonder what kind of hatred, cruelty or inhumanity could be responsible.

    The two, who fled to Laos after the 2014 coup, were bound, disemboweled and stuffed with concrete. Their bodies were wrapped in rice sacks, another layer of green fishnet and thrown into the Mekong River.

    At least two surfaced and have been identified as the anti-monarchist pair Chatchan “Phoo Chana” Boonphawal, 56, and Kraidet “Kasalong” Luelert, 47.

    The two disappeared from Laos in early December along with a well-known republican Surachai Danwattananusorn, a 76-year-old, colorful former communist rebel turned Redshirt opposed to rule by the military and monarchy.

    Was it just sheer hatred and vengeance? Or were their executioners merely “professionals” carrying out an operation?

    Was the fact that at least two if not three bodies floated to the Thai side of the river in Nakhon Phanom province an unintended coincidence? Or was it a warning to the rest of the anti-monarchists who dare speak out?

    A body is retrieved from the Mekong River on the border of Nakhon Phanom province in an undated photo.I’m not alone in holding that the killings, which brought to five the number of identical disappearances since the coup, was about “making an example.”

    The military government insisted Wednesday after the two DNA results came out, that they had nothing to do with it.

    Whoever ordered the killings, when I spoke to the son of Phoo Chana on Monday, he dared not reveal his or his father’s real names. It wasn’t until Thursday that the police made their identities public.

    The climate of fear is real.

    The remaining fugitive anti-monarchists in Laos, believed to number about a dozen, are now not only in fear but mortal danger.

    For four years, many of these people tried to obtain asylum in the West but failed. Now they know they are sitting ducks and at the mercy of the Lao security officers who keep an eye on them.

    One of them, 20-something Nithiwat Wannasuri, is one of those who’s tried and failed to win asylum. A member of an act that penned anti-monarchy and anti-junta music, Nithiwat, who believes he could be next, is very bitter about what’s happening but refuses to be quiet. He said he’s moving every four days and posts angry updates on social about their plight and the situation in Thailand.

    On Facebook, those supporting their cause have posted tributes praising as martyrs the two men as well as Surachai, whose wife Pranee Danwattanusorn, now says that he must be dead.

    “The world have spoken your name: #Surachai …” wrote one Facebook user noting that 13 international news agencies have reported about the three.

    To some ultra-royalists, it was time to celebrate and express schadenfreude.

    Posting on Tuesday after the DNA tests were revealed, Facebook user Sarawut Niamloi instructed those “next in the queue to be ready for your turn.”

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