Unknown fate for 3 more Thai Dissidents.

On May 9th, 2019, a youtube video made by political refugee 'Pieangdin Rakthai', exposed the continuing crisis of missing Thai activists. Cheep Chivasuth known as Loong [Uncle] Sanam Luang, Siam Theerawut known as Sahai Kaoniao Mamuang and Kritsana Thapthai known as Sahai Young Blood, were identified as three more refugees that have gone missing. These three activists took exile in Laos until their recent arrest in Vietnam in January. Following their arrest, they were deported back to Thailand, and since have gone missing. It is believed that the arrest was conducted as a result of the trio using fake Indonesian passports while attempting to cross the border. With the recent increase of missing and murdered Thai political refugees, it is speculated that an unidentified officer may be trying to eliminate Thai refugees in Laos. This threat may have been the reason for the group’s attempt to enter Vietnam.

From wanted by NCPO to missing persons.  

After the 2014 coup d’etat, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) reinstated an old policy to investigate cases involving Section 112 of the Penal Code. Loong [Uncle] Sanam Luang, one of the now missing refugees, was summoned by the NCPO upon this reinstatement. In response to Luang's summoning, Luang took refuge in Thailand’s neighboring country of Laos and continued to express his political view through the internet. Loong [Uncle] Sanam Luang was associated with an underground political group advocating for a federalist state. This group was well-known for their public demonstrations, where members would dress in black t-shirts brandished with a white and red square logo.

The leaflets requesting the fate of Siam were placed on the front of tVietnamese Embassy
while Siam’s mother submitted a letter asking for the fate of her son on 13 May 2019.



At least 8 Thai refugees have lost before 2 bodies were found.

Since NCPO rule, 5 people are known to have disappeared or been killed while taking refuge in Laos, 'DJ Sunho' in 2016, 'Ko Tee' in 2017 and Surachai, Sahai Phuchana and Sahai Gasalong in 2018. With the addition of the three recently missing activists, there are at least 8 Thai political refugees that have disappeared.


Ittipon Sukpaen, aka DJ Sunho

In 2016, Ittipon Sukpaen, aka DJ Sunho, was the first known Thai political refugee to disappear in Laos. DJ Sunho lead the 'Chiang Mai 5', a group of Red-shirt activist in the Province of Chiang Mai, and was a local radio DJ. After the coup, Sukpaen was summoned by the military and fled the country. He continued to criticize the military via Youtube and Facebook. On June 22nd, 2016, it was reported that Sukpaen was seen having dinner at a restaurant and left on his motorbike around midnight. Later that evening, a man heard crying in the same area and searched to find Sukpaen’s motorbike and a sneaker a kilometer away from the restaurant Sukpaen was last seen at.
People related to Sukpaen received information that a Thai officer arrested him and took him to a military base in Phetchabun. The NCPO has said they had been monitoring Sukpaen’s movement but have not admitted to an arrest or detention. The fate of Sukpaen is still unknown.
Note: This information was collected by the United Nations Human Rights Specialist.

Wuttipong Kochthammakun aka 'Ko Tee'

On July 30th, 2017, Jom Petpradub, journalist and political refugee, shared on Facebook that Mr. Wuttipong Kochthammakun aka 'Ko Tee' was captured and taken by a group of fully-armed men at 9.45 a.m on July 29th, 2017. He has not been seen since then. Ko Tee is a well-known redshirt activist who was involved in political rallies before the NCPO staged a coup in 2014. He has been affiliated with violence and the 'Hard Core' wing of the redshirt movement.


Surachai Saedan and 2 others 

On December 12th, 2018, just one day before the NCPO government’s visit to Laos, it was reported that Surachai Danwattananusorn, Chatcharn Buppawan, also known as Sahai Phuchana, and Kraidej Luelert, also known as Sahai Gasalong, had disappeared. On December 27th, a body was found in the Mekhong river in Thatpanom district, Nakornpanom province. On December 28th, another body was found in Thajampa, Thautain district, Nakornpanom province. On December 29th, a third body was found in  Arjsamart, Muang district, Nakornpanom province. All three bodies were found in very bad conditions, wrapped in sacks, fishnets and tied up with rope. The appearance of these bodies was unverifiable and DNA test results showed that two of the bodies were close companions of Danwattananusorn. Still there is no official record for Danwattananusorn's body.
There is some dispute about how many bodies were actually found in the Mekong. The police reported that while checking on the second body, the first body had fallen back into the water. Police claim it was the same body discovered on the 28th and again on 29th. However, Pranee, Danwattananusorn’s wife, believes that there were three bodies discover and the body of Surachai was disposed of. There is still no further information on Danwattananusorn.
Surachai Danwattananusorn was well known as 'Surachai Saedan'. Danwattananusorn was an experienced activist and a member of the redshirts movement. Danwattananusorn was part of the communist movement, holding left-wing ideology and anti-monarchist attitudes. Danwattananusorn was prosecuted under lese majeste charges three known times. He served two prison sentences but continued his advocacy efforts after both releases. When the NCPO took power in 2014, he left the country and led a group of Thai refugees into Laos, all while continuing his vocal criticism of the military and monarchy.



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