April 25, 2014 00:00
By Piyanut Tumnukasetchai
THE RIGHTS and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD) has been pressing for progress in the investigation into the disappearance of a Karen activist.
Por Cha Lee Rakchong-charoen, also known as Billy, has been missing since April 17.
“This case has affected the image of Thailand,” RLPD director general Narat Sawettanan said yesterday.
He said his department had been in contact with the National Police Office and Provincial Police Region 7 to follow up on the progress in the case.
Billy disappeared shortly after Kaeng Krachan National Park chief Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn questioned him about wild bee honey in his possession.
Several organisations suspect that Billy’s decision to file a lawsuit against Chaiwat and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation may have something to do with his disappearance.
Three years ago, officials set fire to the homes of Karen villagers living in the Kaeng Krachan National Park, and Billy helped the villagers take their case to the Administrative Court.
“The international community is now watching,” Narat said.
According to him, the RLPD and non-governmental organisations agree that a white list should be compiled to prepare VIP protection for leaders and prominent figures engaged in community works, as they may be vulnerable to enforced disappearance.