Some 30 security officers have raided the headquarters of the activist group Dao Din and confiscated documents about the controversial healthcare reform. When an activist asked to see a search warrant, a policeman gestured towards a military officer saying, “Here is the warrant.”
Akhom Sibutta, a Dao Din student activist, was alone at the headquarters when it was raided in the early morning of 21 June 2017. The authorities told him that they came to the house on a “reasonable suspicion” without a further explanation.
Akhom asked to see a search warrant from the court. But police officers gestured towards Lt Col Phitakphon Chusri, the military officer who spearheaded the raid, and said that ‘here is the warrant.’
Phitakphon is a local unit leader of the junta’s so-called peace-keeping force in Khon Kaen. He usually appears at political campaigns and activities criticising the junta in Khon Kaen. He was also the one who filed a lèse majesté complaint against Jatupat Boonpattaraksa, aka Pai Dao Din, for sharing a BBC biography of King Vajiralongkorn.
Before leaving the headquarters, the authorities confiscated two documents about the amendments to the National Health Security Act. Akhom asked the officers to sign their names in the search record but was refused. When the activist asked to read the search record, he was again refused.
According to The Isaan Record
, Pol Col Jamlong Suwaluk, chief of Mueang Khon Kaen police district, said that the raid was on suspicion that Dao Din was involved in the ongoing movement against healthcare reform in Khon Kaen.
Akhom, however, pointed out that prior to the raid, various activist groups in Khon Kaen had received calls from security officers, asking whether they would take any action during the visit of junta head Prayut Chan-o-cha to Khon Kaen on 21 June.
Prayut was scheduled to give a speech on the Mobilisation of Thailand 4.0 in the Northeastern Region at Khon Kaen University.
In Prayut’s visit to Khon Kaen in 2014, five Dao Din activists, including Pai, briefly interrupted Prayut’s speech by walking in front of the stage and raising three fingers as a symbol opposing the junta regime.