Protest band Faiyen receives death threat

Yesterday (12 July), there was a report that a member of the exiled protest band Faiyen received a death threat through a Facebook message.

The Change.org page for the #SaveFaiyen campaign in May

The sender, whose identity cannot be verified but who claimed to be a member of the special forces, said that the military now has knowledge of Faiyen’s location and can get to them at any time. The person also claimed that the group is being followed by an intelligence unit, and that if they try to escape, the special forces will immediately murder them as they are a threat to national security. They also gave the group an ultimatum: turn themselves in or be killed.

Within this year, Faiyen have received at least ten similar threats , mostly from people claiming to be state officials or associated with the Thai authorities. The family of one of the band members also allegedly received a call from an unidentified politician asking them to help turn the group in to the Thai authorities. In May, the hashtag #SaveFaiyen trended briefly on Twitter after the exiled activist group Action for Democracy (ACT4DEM) claimed that the band had received a message claiming that they will soon be seized by Thai soldiers. A Change.org campaign was also set up calling for the UNHCR, the Lao authorities, and the French authorities to protect refugees and provide them safe passage out of danger.

Concerns for the safety of Thai political activists in exile have been rising since May, after a report surfaced around 9 May of the disappearance of three activists in exile in Vietnam: Chucheep “Uncle Sanam Luang” Chiwasut, Kritsana Tupthai, and Siam Theerawut, all of whom have since disappeared without trace.  Neither the Thai nor Vietnamese authorities have yet to disclose information about their alleged arrest or extradition.

In December 2018, Surachai Danwattananusorn, or Surachai Saedan, an activist in exile in Lao, also disappeared along with two of his companions: Chatchan “Phuchana” Bupphawan and Kraidet “Kasalong” Luelerd. In January 2019, the mutilated bodies of Phuchana and Kasalong were discovered in the Mekhong River, while Surachai has yet to be found.