Mae Hong Son
Avoiding colonization by Europe simply meant that we colonized our own people. This internal colonialism, in which officials appointed from the metropolis rule and drain the countryside like conquered provinces, has led to obvious differences among the Thai. (Gen. Saiyut Koetphon, former head of Internal Security Operations Command, 1976.)
A Provincial Court in northern Thailand has acquitted a Hmong man accused by national park officers of encroaching into a protected area. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that the Provincial Court of the northern province of Mae Hong Son on Wednesday, 25 May 2016, acquitted Su Wangpoh, a 58-year-old Hmong from Pai District of the province.
The Appeal Court has sentenced 20 members of the Pakayaw Karen ethnic group to between one and five years’ imprisonment for illegal logging in protected areas. The Provincial Court of Mae Sariang District in the northern province of Mae Hong Son on Wednesday convicted 20 Pakayaw Karen from Ban Thung Pa Kha, Mae La Noi District, to one to five years in jail for possessing illegal teak wood. The court did not suspend the jail term and the defendants were taken to Mae Sariang prison after the verdict was read.
The military demolished a roadside souvenir stall and confiscated fruit, wine and other processed fruit products in a northern touristic province allegedly because they believed the ‘square face’ logo on the products symbolized the controversial ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The criminal court has convicted 39 Pakayaw Karen villagers on charges related to illegal logging and forest encroachment and sentenced them to imprisonment and fines. This is believed to be the first large scale prosecution of so-called ‘encroachers’ under the junta’s heavy-handed approach to increase forest coverage.