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Missing Thai Activist’s Sister Seeks Answers in Cambodia


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PHNOM PENH — 

Early this year Thai pro-democracy activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit told his sister he felt as if he were being followed by three men who looked like Thai police officers.

 

Wanchalearm had arrived in Cambodia in 2014, fleeing a warrant for failure to report to a military camp for dissidents after a coup. He is now missing.

“They are in the circles where these threats are common,” his sister, Sitanun Satsaksit, told VOA Khmer. She added that her brother didn’t seem very worried at the time, which she recalled as being “before COVID.”

 

On May 13, Thai police visited their mother’s home in Ubon Ratchathani, a city in northeastern Thailand. They asked about Wanchalearm’s whereabouts. The Thai activist immediately took to Facebook to mock the police officers for “performing their duties.”

 

“This might have been the last straw,” Sitanun said during a video call on November 16 with VOA. She added that she believes the satirical post pushed Thai authorities to act.

 

Her brother made his last Facebook post on June 3, taunting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Isan, the language of northeastern Thailand. His delivery seems friendly, but his words are profane.

 

CCTV footage from June 4 shows a black SUV speeding away from Wanchalearm’s home in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district. Eyewitnesses who identified Wanchalearm told VOA Khmer that three men had forced him into the vehicle before it took off.

 

The Thai activist has not been seen since.

 

Sitanun arrived in Phnom Penh in early November to attend a December 8 hearing at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court into Wanchalearm’s alleged disappearance. She plans to present evidence and push for a fuller investigation into the incident.

 

“I want to find the truth about my brother,” she told VOA, “I don’t really know what to expect.”

 

She said she knows only that as she spoke to Wanchalearm the day he disappeared, she heard men speaking in a language that was not Thai in the background.

 

“He said, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,’” she said. Worried that something was obstructing his windpipe, she told him to smack his chest to try to clear it if he couldn’t breathe.

 

“The next thing you know, he went off the line.”

 

read more https://www.voacambodia.com/a/5681427.html

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23 hours ago, geovalin said:

“I want to find the truth about my brother,” she told VOA, “I don’t really know what to expect.”

Don't expect the truth or an answer.. sorry for your loss.

Remember him fondly and move on.

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