On Wednesday night, state security officials abducted New Sirichai from his dormitory. The officials were not in uniform, did not declare an arrest warrant, and took him to an undisclosed location.
Rights groups and politicians said that the arrest amounted to kidnapping because of the nature and timing of the abduction.
ตำรวจ สภ.คลองหลวงปล่อยข่าวว่าจะเอา "นิว" ศิริชัย นาถึง นักศึกษาปีหนึ่ง สมาชิก @ThammasatUFTD ซึ่งถูกจับกลางดึกที่ธรรมศาสตร์รังสิต ข้อหา #ม112 ไปคุมตัวที่ ตชด.ภาค 1 ซึ่งเป็นการกระทำที่มิชอบ ไม่มีกฎหมายรองรับ ถือเป็นการควบคุมตัวโดยพลการ #ยกเลิกม112— Sunai (@sunaibkk) January 13, 2021
Former Future Forward MP and Progressive Movement leader @Piyabutr_FWP says that this was not an arrest by the books but a kidnapping by state security officials.— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) January 13, 2021
Police did not show warrant or give suspect access to lawyer. #saveนิวมธ #ยกเลิกม112 https://t.co/TLHbz2Tnrf
What made the situation worse was that police lied to lawyers and pro-democracy protesters about New’s whereabouts throughout the night.
First, they said he was being moved to downtown Bangkok, then they said he was at Khlong Luang Police Station. In the end, his friends found him in a police car parked outside his dormitories.
Human Rights Watch said that such tactics are commonplace with Thai police and that they wanted to isolate New so that they could force him to search his residence without a lawyer present.
A nation of thugs
The Thai government likes to say that it abides by international standards. There have been numerous statements put out by the Prime Minister’s Office saying as much.
“Our election followed international standards”
“The court case was carried out to international standards”
“The security operations was carried out according to international standards”
But let’s make one thing clear, there were no international standards being followed last night, unless the standards that we want to follow are those set in Pyongyang, Xinjiang, or Tehran.
If anything, the arrest last night goes to show that we have become a nation where laws and the rights of the accused do not really matter.
No matter your position on the Lese Majeste law, the actions of the Thai police last night went beyond carrying out the enforcement of the law and was an act of intimidation and harassment by the state.
The ‘arrest,’ if you could call it that, was more reminiscent of a scene from the Sopranos than protocol accepted by the United Nations.
This government has shown time and time again that it is not above using the same tactics employed by dictators and despots. But this is hardly surprising given that this government was put in place by a military coup and has allied itself with international drug dealers and local mafiosos.
The second wave of coronavirus pandemic has been made worse by illegal activities such as illegal casinos and human trafficking – something the government said it cannot fix. One cannot help but ask the question, if the reason the government cannot fix these problems is because those that they employ are the ones running the illegal operations.
So let us throw away the notion that this government is following international norms – it was never that convincing to begin with. Let us confront reality for what it truly is, that we are a nation of thugs being ruled by a government full of thugs.