Phansak Srithep has finished a long walk from Chiang Mai to Fang District to report to local police following complaints lodged against him by a monk with whom he had a heated dispute on Facebook over political conflicts.
He was accused of defamation under Article 328 of the Criminal Code by Phra Kittisak Kittisobhano after he had posted comments on his Facebook page in reaction to Phra Kittisak’s numerous Facebook posts during the floods last year, making sarcastic comments about, for example, the Yingluck government’s pledge to pay compensation to those who had been killed and injured during the 2010 crackdown and the red shirts’ hostile views against the military while soldiers were coming out to help people during the floods.
‘Those who persist in heavily cursing that ‘soldiers are murderers’ should never ask for help [from the military during the floods]. It seems that there are plenty of them in this neighbourhood,’ said Phra Kittisak on his Facebook page (later deleted by himself).
‘If we buy life insurance worth 10 million baht, how much do we have to pay for the monthly premium? Because for people like us, the government would never pay compensation of 10 million baht for our deaths,’ said Phra Kittisak.
Phansak wrote on his Facebook page that he 'would use blood from a monk to wash his feet’.
Phansak is the father of Samaphan, a 17-year-old boy who was killed on 15 May 2010 at Soi Rang Nam in Bangkok during the government crackdown on the red shirts.
Samaphan, nicknamed Cher, was born into a politically active family. According to his father, he had joined the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s anti-Thaksin rallies and once even volunteered to be a guard for 3-4 months.
Samaphan at a PAD rally
Phansak himself used to work with Thaksin’s critics including Sulak Sivaraksa and Chaiwat Satha-anan.
‘We took him to an event at the Democracy Monument held on 11 May 2010 after the 10 April clash [between the red shirts and the military]. He helped others in several activities. He also saw video clips and photographs and heard stories. He said to me that this was not like what TV told us. Completely different. I told him that if you had not come, you would never know. You have to come to see for yourself what it really is,’ Phansak said. (see here and here)
During the red-shirt rallies in 2010, he also went out of curiosity to learn more about Thai politics.
On the morning of 15 May 2010, Phansak learned about his son’s death when he saw photographs sent directly to him by the photographer through the internet.
Samaphan Srithep, or Cher, on the morning of 15 May 2010 at Soi Rang Nam
Phansak, who is a resident of Bangkok, started to walk from Chiang Mai on 20 Feb. He admitted that he could not walk along some stretches because there were no pedestrian walkways and accidents might occur.
Before the walk, Phansak was given moral support by Sulak Sivaraksa
He reached Fang on 27 Feb, about 160 kms from Chiang Mai, and reported to police there. He was told by the police to show up again at the police station on 12 March.
An avid advocate of the ‘people’s sector’ cause and a Thaksin critic, Phra Kittisak was a close friend of Phra Supoj Suwajo, the abbot of Suan Metta Dharm forest monastery in Fang who was killed in 2005. Until now, the mystery of the murder has yet to be solved.