Submitted on Wed, 2014-04-09 22:15
Kotee, a prominent hardcore pro-government red-shirt leader, has been the target of lèse majesté charges after he spoke to the foreign media about who is really behind the on-going anti-government protest.
The loyalist anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and PDRC-affiliated Blue Sky satellite TV channel have aggressively condemned Wuthipong Kachathamkun, aka Kotee, accusing him of disloyalty to the throne. The issue of Kotee seems to fuel, again, the issue of “who is more loyal to the King” on the PDRC stage. They also attacked the government for leaving Kotee at large.
A letter stamped “Extremely Urgent,” signed by the PM’s secretary Suranand Vejjajiva appeared on Thursday afternoon. The letter urges the police to speed up the lèse majesté case against Kotee.
The interview was part of a documentary by Vice News, entitled “Bangkok Rising - Is Thailand on the Brink of Civil War?” The documentary is still available on YouTube, but Prachatai has decided not to publish the link as this could be deemed lèse majesté and a violation of Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act. The video was first published on Tuesday. The interview seems to have taken place before the February 2 general election.
The reporter asks Kotee what the red-shirts’ demands are.
Kotee replies: “We demand that they stop mob gatherings on the streets. We demand the electoral system. They say they love the country. But all they do is destroy it and the economy. I'm fighting the system that has dominated Thailand for a long time. Suthep is only the figurehead. I'm fighting the one who is really behind the mob. You know the meaning, right?"
Kotee gives interview to Vice News. Captured from Vice News's documentary entitled “Bangkok Rising - Is Thailand on the Brink of Civil War?.
After a pause, he asks the reporter if she understands the implication of his gesture. He then says the name of the alleged de facto leader of the anti-government protest.
Unlike the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the major red-shirt faction, which is seen as very careful when touching the issue of the monarchy, Kotee leads a faction of red shirts which are seen as uncompromising toward the establishment. Gaining influence by owning a red-shirt community radio station, Kotee has a permanent red-shirt stage in Lak Si District in northern Bangkok. The stage regularly hosts concerts by the Fai Yen red-shirt pop band, whose theme is the unutterable issue.
The name of Kotee became well-known after a shootout at Lak Si in early February. The PDRC alleged that he shot at PDRC protesters. Six people were injured in the clash.
As of press time, the police have not yet formally charged Kotee.