Following allegations on social media that activist Sirawith Serithiwat was attacked by debt collectors, Patnaree Charnkij, Sirawith’s mother, insisted that her family no longer has any informal debts and that it is unlikely that Sirawith’s attack was a result of money being owed.
The allegations stem from a passage in Sirawith’s 2015 interview with Prachatai, in which he said that his family had a lot of debt when he was a child, and had to move often. The quote was taken out of context, leading to speculation that Sirawith was attacked by debt collectors, rather than because of his activism.
Patnaree said that their family’s last move was in 2010, and they’ve lived at their current residence for almost ten years. She also insisted that they have paid back all of their informal loans and have not been in debt for the last ten years. She said that if there is any debt at all, it is most likely their rent, which many years ago they often paid late, but at present, they always pay on time.
Patnaree insisted that Sirawith has not taken out any informal loan, and while he has taken out a student loan, she said that it is impossible that the student loan fund would demand payment through physical assault. She said that her son works and earns money, and that he uses his money frugally. She said that the allegations are based on Sirawith’s old interview, which is about something which happened 10 – 20 years ago and is not their current situation.
Sirawith, who is still hospitalized, also said in a Facebook post earlier on Wednesday (3 July) that he has no informal debts, and even if he did, no one should face such violence.