I was in the newsroom when police arrested Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak in the middle of the night, put him in an unmarked van, and sent him to a police station in the suburbs for processing.
There was no press conference, there was no fanfare, it was the Thai deep state working efficiently to suppress, gag, and detain those that would question the current establishment.
It was chilling, frustrating, Kafkaesque.
It made me question how I ever bought into the land of smiles lie, that Thailand’s paternal autocracy was built to work for and protect its people.
Then I watched last night’s press conference where Police Colonel Thitisant “Joe Ferrari” Uttanapol was given a nationally televised audience to plead his case and suddenly everything fell into place.
You see Joe Ferrari is one of the good people. Despite murdering an alleged drug dealer in cold blood, with a plastic bag, while his men held the guy down, he is a good person. Never mind that this is the kind of scene you’d expect to see in a Nazi movie, Joe is a good person.
You see Joe is a good person because he is a “relentless crime fighter,” because he volunteers with royalists, because he is polite and clean cut. He is a good person.
He is not a bad person like the unruly protesters who do not know their place, who dare to question the establishment.
So it all makes sense which crime the Thai government thinks is more serious, which crime demands an abduction in the middle of the night, which crime demands solitary confinement, which crime demands being treated like an enemy of the state.
Maybe we are living in a Nazi movie.