See More on Facebook

Culture and society, Politics

Bodies of anti-monarchy activists found in Thailand

DNA tests confirm identities; both found strangled and drowned in river; activist not heard from since December 12.


Written by

Updated: January 23, 2019

A FORENSIC report confirmed yesterday that DNA samples collected from two dead bodies found on the banks of the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom a few days ago matched the DNA of two missing dissidents who were close aides of former anti-monarchist activist Surachai “Saedan” Danwattananusorn.

An official report from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Bangkok’s Police Hospital indicated that one of the bodies might be that of leftist activist “Comrade Kasalong” as its DNA matches that of his son, Nakhon Phanom police chief Pol Major Thanachart Rodklongtan said.

Meanwhile, the DNA of the son of another political activist “Comrade Poochana” matched that of the second body.

Both Kasalong and Poochana, along with Surachai, had not been heard from since December 12, according to their relatives, who believed they might have been living in exile in neighbouring Laos.

The relatives of Surachai’s two aides called on police to test the DNA of the two bodies, aged between 30 and 50, after hearing that they might be those of their missing relatives.

The two men, whose bodies were found on the banks of the Mekong on December 27 and 29, appeared to have been killed in the same manner – handcuffed and strangled by rope. Their bodies were then weighted down with concrete blocks, wrapped in a net and sack and dumped into the Mekong River, which borders Thailand and Laos.

The 75-year-old former communist insurgent, Surachai, who actively joined the red-shirt movement, had sought refuge in Laos after the May 2014 military coup.

The last time his associates had heard from him was on December 12, when he called them from Laos on a cellphone, a Facebook post by Phouphaaseree Saren said. The post said his house in Laos’ Bolikamxay province was left unlocked, the van he regularly used was still parked and his belongings were untouched. The two fugitives living with him – Poochana and Kasalong – have also gone missing, the post read.

National Human Rights Commissioner (NHRC) Angkhana Neelapaijit said the relatives of Surachai’s two aides had contacted her earlier to express their concern. “I told them to lodge a complaint with police for further investigation, and if they fear injustice, they can seek assistance from the NHRC,” she told The Nation.

Several red-shirt dissidents fled Thailand after the Yingluck Shinawatra government was ousted in a military coup in 2014.

Many of the dissidents in exile are considered to be hardcore red-shirts who also have anti-monarchy sentiments. Five of these dissidents, including Ittipon “DJ Sunho” Sukpaen and Wuttipong “Ko-Tee” Kotthammakhun, have reportedly gone missing.

Their associates say they were murdered in Laos, but there has been no official confirmation and the Laos authorities have refused to acknowledge they had ever lived in the country.

Meanwhile, Surachai’s wife Pranee Danwattananusorn told Prachatai news website that she had lost contact with her husband a long time ago and had only heard about his disappearance via media, adding that all she could do at this point is pray for his safety.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Culture and society, Politics

Hirohito said rearmament, constitutional revision necessary

The records were recently discovered and made public. Emperor Showa mentioned the necessity of rearmament and constitutional revision, according to newly disclosed documents detailing exchanges between the emperor and Michiji Tajima, the first grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency in the postwar period. The documents, which were released on Monday, also showed that the emperor intended to express his remorse over World War II at a ceremony to celebrate Japan’s recovery of independence held in May 1952. The documents consist of a total of 18 of Tajima’s datebooks and notebooks from February 1949 to December 1953. Public broadcaster NHK disclosed part of the records on Monday, which were provided by Tajima’s family. According to the documents, Emperor Showa stuck to the idea of including the word “remorse” in his speech at the ceremony.


By The Japan News
August 21, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Nearly two million rally peacefully in Hong Kong

Government says while rally is generally peaceful, traffic disrupted. Protesters gathered at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Forces Hong Kong Building in Central, as well as the Central Government Complex next to it on Sunday night (Aug 18). This followed an earlier peaceful march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central despite a police ban. Some protesters, however, turned their laser pointers on the government offices. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters lingered on Harcourt Road, prompting police to issue a warning for them to disperse. The police said the protesters had “shot hard objects at the Central Government Complex with slingshots and aimed laser beams at police officers”, posing a safety threat. Protesters there briefly surrounded a mainland Chinese man and questioned his identity after he was spotted trying


By The Straits Times
August 19, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Japan marks 74th anniversary of war’s end

The new emperor made an address on his first war anniversary on the throne. The Emperor used the words “deep remorse” during his address at a national memorial service held Thursday in Tokyo to mark the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Emperor, who ascended to the throne on May 1, and the Empress attended the ceremony held by the government at the Nippon Budokan hall in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, the first of its kind in the Reiwa era. About 6,500 people, including bereaved relatives, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and representatives of various fields, were present to honor the about 3.1 million Japanese people who died in the war. Among those registered to attend, 53 representatives of families of the war victims from Miyazaki Prefecture were unable to attend the ceremony because their flight was canceled due to Typhoon No. 10. Participants obser


By The Japan News
August 16, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Hong Kong airport beefs up security as flights resume after protest chaos

Hong Kong courts declare airport occupation to be illegal. Flights resumed at Hong Kong’s airport Wednesday (Aug 14) after two days of disruptions marked by outbursts of violence that highlight the hardening positions of pro-democracy protesters and the authorities in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Reflecting growing international concern, the US State Department on Wednesday issued a travel advisory for Hong Kong, urging “increased caution in Hong Kong due to civil unrest.” A State Department spokesman also expressed concern about reports of movements of Chinese forces on the border with Hong Kong and urged Beijing to honor the territory’s autonomy. “The United States is deeply concerned by reports of Chinese paramilitary movement along the Hong Kong border,” the spokesman said, referring to satellite photos showing what appear to be armoured personnel carriers and other vehicl


By The Straits Times
August 15, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Anti-Abe rallies to sweep Seoul on Liberation Day

The two countries have been at loggerhead over trade issues for weeks. Rallies denouncing the Shinzo Abe administration for Tokyo’s economic retaliation against Seoul are set to take place Thursday on Liberation Day, along with events reflecting on the 74th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule. A movement for joint action to resolve the wartime forced labor and other historical issues with Japan — set up by some 10 civic groups, including Movement for One Korea and the Center for Historical Truth and Justice — will begin a rally at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Seoul Plaza. Civic groups that have sought to resolve the forced labor issue in Japan will also participate in the rally. Koreans subjected to forced labor overseas by Japan during the colonial period will speak about their hardships, and ask for support to resolve the issue. According to organizer


By The Korea Herald
August 15, 2019

Culture and society, Politics

Carrie Lam urges public to set aside rifts, put Hong Kong first

The besieged leader addressed the young people of Hong Kong in Mandarin. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday appealed to the public to calm down, set aside differences on political issues and jointly oppose escalating violence that is pushing the city into “the abyss of destruction”. Lam said developments over the past week had validated her concerns that Hong Kong was in a dangerous situation. Meeting reporters ahead of the resumption of customary Executive Council meetings every Tuesday, Lam appealed to the public again, in a voice trembling with emotions, to pause and think. “The top


By China Daily
August 14, 2019