Parents demand tambon official leaves after Nong Bua Lam Phu threat

Parents demand tambon official leaves after Nong Bua Lam Phu threat

Residents of tambon Khok See and neighbouring areas in Muang district of Khon Kaen province gather at the office of the Khok See tambon administration organisation on Monday, demanding the second assistant to the TAO chief leave town immediately. (Photo: Chakkrapan Natanri)
Residents of tambon Khok See and neighbouring areas in Muang district of Khon Kaen province gather at the office of the Khok See tambon administration organisation on Monday, demanding the second assistant to the TAO chief leave town immediately. (Photo: Chakkrapan Natanri)

KHON KAEN: Fearful parents rallied on Monday demanding that a local tambon administration official leave the area immediately after he made threatening reference to a repeat of the Nong Bua Lam Phu massacre.

About 50 people from tambon Khok See and nearby in Muang district converged at the Khok See tambon administrative organisation office with placards demanding that Direkratch Chaisakhon, a second assistant to the TAO chief, leaves town.

"If this matter is not settled, we do not feel safe about taking our children to school," one of the banners declared.

Residents whose children attend the childcare centre operated by the TAO, along with some tambon officials, were left fearful after Mr Direkratch warned of a repeat of the Nong Bua Lam Phu incident if his annual performance appraisal this year is not favourable.

"Tell the TAO assistant that if it is not finished before the new year, it will be like what happened in Nong Bua Lam Phu," he told a junior TAO official when asking for progress on the appraisal on Nov 17.

The junior staffer sent a report of the meeting and the implied threat to the TAO chief the same day.

"I am very worried and I do not feel comfortable because of what he said," the junior official said in the report.

A copy of the report was seen by the Bangkok Post.

As word of the threat spread through the tambon and neighbouring areas many parents decided not to send their children to the childcare centre, fearing for their safety over the reference to the events in Nong Bua Lam Phu province.

On Oct 6, sacked police sergeant Panya Khamrab killed 36 people, 24 of them children, before killing himself. Most of the murders were at the Uthai TAO childcare centre in Na Klang district.

After the protest on Monday, Mr Direkratch immediately left the office for an unknown location. He said last week that he did not mention the word "killing" in the remark made on Nov 17.

Khok See TAO chairman Thanasak Roipha told the rally that he would consult with district and provincial authorities on the matter.

Mr Direkratch was accused embezzlement of the Khon See TAO budget funds in 2018.

He claimed he had repaid the money but the office continued to make monthly deductions from his salary  this year, and that would be reflected in the annual assessment of his performance, he said.


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