Tang Archeewa's puppet master should shut him up

Tang Archeewa's puppet master should shut him up

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems to have just awakened to the problem of Ekaphob Luera, widely known as “Tang Archeewa.” Without a hard push from the National Council for Peace and Order, I wonder if the ministry will do something regarding the red-shirt underling now facing lese majeste charges.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Sek Wannamethee told the media Monday that the ministry recently had asked New Zealand's embassy about the immigration status of Tang, who was reportedly issued a New Zealand passport and granted refugee status there.

Mr Sek alleged that the former vocational student had exploited his new status to carry out political activities deemed a threat to national security. He also warned that such activities, if left unchecked, might affect relations between Thailand and New Zealand.

The wording may not have been harsh, but the message conveyed was clear that the ministry really means business and cannot accept the "provocative" conduct of Tang and the insensitive way the Kiwi government has been dealing with the problem.

Of course, the Thai government and the Thai people who despise Tang's alleged offensive remarks against the monarchy cannot force New Zealand to revoke the fugitive's New Zealand passport or to kick him out of the country.  But, at least, it should be able to restrain him from going public in a way which is deemed provocative by many Thais.

My interpretation of Tang's posting a photo on his Facebook page of him holding his new passport - with an accompanying caption saying he is now living in New Zealand -  is that it's meant to mock and taunt the Thai government and people with a "catch me if you can" challenge.

No other red-shirt fugitive facing lese majeste charges has behaved in such a provocative manner, even though they have not changed their views about the monarchy.

Tang could be living a quiet, peaceful life in New Zealand without being hounded by the those loyal to the royal institution. But he chose to be provocative, as if he were a puppet for someone pulling the strings from above.

He is protected and financed by someone rich and powerful.  Otherwise, howe could an unemployed former student enjoy life in Phuket with his girlfriend, posting photos on Facebook as he did while still in Thailand about a year ago?  And hoow could he obtain a New Zealand passport without someone's muscle behind him?

I am not sure if the New Zealand government can legally stop Tang from going public with his provocative acts. But his master can order him to shut up and take a low profile.

Allowing this foul-mouthed missile free rein, or playing him up for whatever the motive is, is unwise. It will backfire and provoke the sentiments of the royalists.

Veera Prateepchaikul

Former Editor

Former Bangkok Post Editor, political commentator and a regular columnist at Post Publishing.

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