The ruling junta will seek the extradition of Thais living overseas for allegedly offending the monarchy, General Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday.
Prayuth, who heads the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said the individuals targeted were Choopong Thithuan, Anek Chaichana, Saneh Thinsaen, Amnuay Kaewchompoo and Ong-art Thanakamolnan.
He said they were wanted for “insulting the monarchy” and had fled the country after their arrest warrants were issued.
“It may be tough to have them extradited back to Thailand, because the countries they live in now have no lese majeste law,” Prayuth said.
The junta leader, who is also Army chief, was speaking during his weekly “Returning Happiness to People” television address, which kicked off at 5pm yesterday – four hours earlier than in previous weeks.
Prayuth also said people should not bring the monarchy into their political conflicts as this caused damage to the institution.
He said attempts were being made to create a division in the country, splitting society into peasants and the elite, even though slavery and the class system had been abolished in the country since King Rama V’s reign.
“People who use these terms are looking down on Thai people. We are all equal as humans even though we might have differences in terms of birth, occupation, income or quality of life,” Prayuth said.
He said these inequalities were caused by the fact that Thailand was a democracy with a free economy.
Prayuth said that to avoid conflicts in the future, the law should be respected and enforced fairly.
According to the junta chief, China had put in an order for 100,000 tonnes of Thai broken rice this month in addition to the 900,000 tonnes of rice it purchased earlier, which would be delivered between next month and September 2015.
Prayuth also reported on the NCPO’s progress in other areas in his TV address.
Selection of National Reform Council members
The Election Commission reveals the timeline for the selection of NRC members before the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) kicks of an event promoting the council today:
August 13: NCPO sets up selection committees for 11 areas of reform;
August 14-September 2: NRC candidates are nominated by legal entities nationwide;
Five NRC candidates are nominated by each of the 77 provincial committees;
September 3-12: Election Commission checks the qualifications of all candidates;
September 13-22: Selection committees shortlist up to 50 candidates for each of the 11 areas of reform;
September 23- October 2: NCPO’s selection of 77 provincial representatives and up to 173 others from the candidates.
_ Legal entities eligible to nominate two candidates for the NRC include 3,146 registered non-profit legal entities; 200,000 temples, universities and 73 registered political parties.