FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

Thai journalist in US feels unsafe after package from Thailand warns he's being watched

Thai journalist in US feels unsafe after package from Thailand warns he's being watched

A Thai journalist living in exile in the United States has accused the Thai government of making veiled threats to his life and safety.

Jom Petchapradad, who lives in exile in Los Angeles, posted on his Facebook page that a FedEx package sent to him from Thailand contained threatening materials.

The package contained photographs that showed Jom's home was under surveillance and he was being followed. Jom said that the sender had sent a coded threat — a photograph of the cover of the book "Catch Me If You Can”.

The parcel was sent from Sakon Nakhon province, Northeast of Thailand. Jom said that those behind these materials aimed to threaten him and put fear in him that he was being watched.

Jom flied a complaint with Los Angeles police about the incident.

He lamented that living in exile in democratic and developed countries, such as the United States, may not guarantee him freedom from intimidation by the Thai dictatorship regime.

Even some Thais living in Los Angeles had accused him of working for former prime minister Thaksin Shinwatra and accused him of undermining the monarchy, said Jom.

Red shirt activist Phontip Weeden had also received the same materials sent from Thailand, according to Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a Thailand critic and former reporter at Reuters news agency. Marshall, who is based in England, claimed that he was also stalked.

The incident came as the UN Human Rights Office said it was profoundly concerned over continuing reports of enforced disappearances in Southeast Asia, and has urgently called on all countries in the region to criminalise the act and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

About 10 Thai dissidents living in exile in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia have been victims of enforced disappearance and some were found dead later while others have not been found yet.

Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a Thai dissident living in Cambodia, was abducted in Phnom Penh in June. Thai political activists believe that the case had some connection with the Thai government.

The abduction of Wanchalearm was believed to be the trigger for the current nationwide youth-led protests against the government. The protesters are demanding an end to government intimidation of its critics, rewriting of the Constitution, dissolving Parliament and reforming the monarchy.