Graffiti artist continues to face police harassment

The anonymous graffiti artist Headache Stencil continues to face harassment from police officers after he posted images of the missing activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit on his Facebook profile page.

The picture of Pridi Banomyong (left) and the picture of the revolutionaries announcing the regime change in 1932 (right) projected onto the wall of Wat Ratchanadda by Headache Stencil during the early morning on 24 June.

On 12 July, the artist posted on his Facebook page that, after he had previously posted information about the group of four police officers who claimed to be from Phra Khanong Police Station and came to his condominium on the night of 24 June and included artwork of Wanchalearm in the post, he saw police officers taking pictures of his condominium from a nearby overpass.

Activist Nuttaa Mahattana went to Phra Khanong Police Station on Monday (13 July) to file a complaint about the harassment both on 24 June and on 12 July on behalf of the artist.

“I would like to thank Bow Nuttaa for filing the complaint on my behalf,” the artist wrote. “I hope that an ordinary person like myself will soon be informed about progress in the case, because the name of the police officer who came that day has already been supplied. We should find out what reasons the person who came that day is going to give, and whether the three people who came with him are police officers, because if it is proven that they are not officers, or if there is one in that night’s group who is not an officer, then it’s not the methods of government officials and they should be fired and prosecuted as an example. I hope that we’ll get to see that justice still functions in our country.”

“Don’t wait to report about my corpse. I’m not likely to be so lucky as to get away very often,” he added.

The hashtag #SaveHeadacheStencil trended on Twitter for two days after the artist posted about the intimidation he is facing.

“The important thing about Headache Stencil is that this is intimidation towards a dissenter,” Human Rights Watch’s Asia senior researcher Sunai Phasuk told Thai Enquirer. “He is quite well known in society as being a graffiti artist who criticizes the government and authority.

“The police were not transparent in the way that they approached him, they did not state what they were doing and would not identify themselves which is concerning.”

Headache Stencil is known for his political satire and said that he was previously stalked by four men who claimed to be police officers who visited his condominium during the night of 24 June, after he projected an image of Pridi Banomyong onto the wall of Wat Ratchanadda royal temple in the early morning of 24 June to commemorate the 88th anniversary of the 1932 Siamese Revolution. He has also faced similar intimidation after he spray-painted the image of a clock with the face of Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan onto an overpass in the Sukhumvit area and ended up paying a fine of 3000 baht on a vandalism charge.

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