Equal Justice Under Law
(Phrase engraved over the entrance to the US Supreme Court. No Thai equivalent has been identified.)
“It is necessary for the government and security agencies to intensify their actions by using all laws and all articles to take action against demonstrators who break the law and show no respect for the rights of other people.”
Uncompromising statement by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the land of compromise, 19 September 2020.
A police station, somewhere in Bangkok. An investigating officer, fresh from his weekly haircut, reports for duty only 2 hours late.
Right, what have we got this mo-, oh my giddy aunt, what’s all this?
List of cases for us to investigate.
What? But there’s hundreds and hundreds of them. It’s not the New Year jay-walking campaign already is it?
Orders from the top. Charge everyone in the demos with everything. This is just for us. There’s so many they had to share them out among stations.
Well, can’t we just say it wasn’t on our patch like we always do?
Like I said, orders from the top. The Very Top. No holds barred. Not just Section 116 any more. We can charge them with 112, 110, 108, …
Wait a minute. There’s a Section 108? I never knew that. What’s it say?
Er, hang on a minute, I’ll have to look it up. Anyone got a copy of the Criminal Code?
I saw one lying around a month or two back. Maybe it’s in the cells.
It’s alright, I can look it up on the computer. Here we go, ‘Whoever commits an act of violence against the King or His Liberty shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.’
Whew. Well, His Maj wasn’t at the demos, they can’t use that charge.
Oh no? Remember that pushy farang reporter? Shoved his mike under the royal nose and started an interview without a by your leave?
But he didn’t hit him with it, did he?
No, but he did hold everything up and there were all those people waiting for a royal tete-a-tete like the mad ex-monk and so on. Violence against His Liberty, that is. At least that’s what the courts will call it.
Ah well, I suppose we’d better make a start. Oh, this first one’s handy, multiple defendants. I like those. One investigation, dozens of convictions. Hang on, half of these names are foreign.
Oh yeah, that’s illegal possession of weapons. These are all the reporters who were covering the protests.
They had guns? Surely not.
No of course not, but the most of them wore flak jackets and such. According to the law they’re classified as weapons because we can have them but they can’t.
Well that case will do the national image a power of good. So who’s next?
This lot are being done for illegally impersonating a public utility.
Remember they made those fake post boxes out of litter bins? Painted them red with a proper logo and then everyone posted their comments in them?
Oh yeah. And Chanasongkram have had to spend hours figuring out if Donald J Trump and Voldemort can be prosecuted. Enough to turn anyone republican.
Well it seems pretending that something’s a post box when it’s not, is an offence. So they’re done.
OK, so that case is a dead letter. Geddit, geddit?
Now this one’s more tricky. Caught him graffiti-ing the road outside Police HQ. He’s been charged with slandering the Ministry of Education.
Well, they wanted to bring a charge of violating the rules of English grammar, but they discovered that’s not a crime …
If it was, the jails would be full of English teachers.
… so this is their best shot.
But what’s English grammar got to do with it?
Well he wrote ‘I here too’ in English, you see, and they want to get him for not adding an ‘am’ in the middle.
But that’s not what he meant. See, if you say it in Thai, it means …
Yes, yes, we all know that. But The Great Compromiser doesn’t want that kind of thing read out in court, so this is a sort of round-the-corner, backdoor charge.
And good luck with that. So who’s Y R Duck in this next one? Resisting police brutality. Is that a crime now?
Yeah, they’re really scraping the barrel on this one. Not is it not really a crime, but guess who Y R Duck is.
I give in.
Yellow Rubber Duck. His nibs is not happy at all with the publicity this stunt got. The pictures in the international news didn’t look good. We got shown firing water cannon and tear gas against cute, cheery little rubber ducks. So he wants it stop. The ducks that is, not the water cannon and tear gas. And he thinks if he makes an example of one duck, it’ll be a deterrent.
And we’ve put Y R Duck in the cells?
No problem. One of the radical monks we picked up is using it to sit on and do his meditation.
Ah, now, this one is more like it. Taking up arms against the duly elected government, refusing to give the oath of office, appointing a convicted drug dealer as a minister and then giving his mia noi a government job, the list goes on. And he’s been illegally living rent-free in government housing. Sonny Jim here has been a very naughty boy. He’s going down for a long, long, - . Oh it’s not him, is it?