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Thailand

Foreign-based critics of Thailand’s monarchy receive suspicious packages


By Tris_T7 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Foreign-based critics of the Thai regime and monarchy were subject to surveillance and suspicious packages, according to a well-known journalist critical of the monarchy.

Andrew MacGregor Marshall revealed on Twitter that he and several other dissident journalists have been “targeted in August by people who surveilled our homes, followed us and sent packages intended to intimidate us.”

Thais who live in Los Angeles received packages showing they had been followed with threatening mail via a FedEx package from Thailand.

Marshall revealed that he was followed at the beginning of the month and also received a package: “For the previous couple of days, I had seen a couple of suspicious people hanging around near my home, who appeared to be watching me when I went out.

“A package was then left on my doorstep — a gift bag, with a gift box inside with the message ‘A Special Something for You’. Inside were some items that showed I had been followed over the previous few days, as well as a printed message that said ‘Greetings from Thailand!'”

“The message to those criticising the regime and monarchy is clear: we know where you live and we can get to you. It is not known who is responsible for the packages.”

Marshall noted that “they come amid an atmosphere of increasing panic in the palace, military and government over mounting protests demanding reform of the monarchy and constitution.”

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Several protests have taken place in the country against the monarchy where the people have demanded democracy and more freedom. Thailand has strict lèse-majesté laws which comes with up to a 15-year prison sentence for criticising the monarchy.

Ten Thai dissidents have been murdered abroad since 2016 including Wanchalearm Satsaksit who was abducted in June from Cambodia. His murder was reportedly ordered by the King and carried out by the King’s security chief. The King is said to be furious with the ongoing protests and wants action taken against those criticising the monarchy.

Marshall warned: “But reports from inside the palace say the king is enraged by the escalating protests and criticism of the monarchy and wants blood. So all Thai activists abroad need to be aware of the increased risk, and look out for signs of surveillance.”

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Thailand’s current monarch, King Rama X, has been on the throne since the death of his father, the beloved King Rama IX in 2016. He and his wife, Queen Suthida spent the majority of the year outside of Thailand. The King resides in a hotel in Germany with his harem while the Queen stays in Switzerland.

King Rama X has assumed more power since he took the throne four years ago when a new constitution gave the King more emergency powers. He has also personally taken control of military units and certain assets.

He primarily resides in Germany with his harem, while his wife, Queen Suthida lives in Switzerland.



About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.