Police hysteria against “rumors mongers” : owner of a snooker bar arrested

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t tragic.

I didn’t blog before about the state campaign against “rumors mongers” in the case of the King’s health and a (tiny) drop of the stock market in october. Two people have been arrested last week.

I was thinking (fool)… “oh well , another non-event in Lalaland”… But this story takes amazing proportions, even by thai standards.

And the police seems totally out of control… It’s a self reinforcing hysteria.

Look at the latest news :

The owner of a snooker bar in Chon Buri who allegedly posted unverified assertions that led to a stock market plunge last week is the link who will lead to the arrest of those behind rumour-mongering and their accomplices, a senior police officer said yesterday. (Nation)

What started as a gross manipulation about a perfectly non-existent manipulation (of the stock market), driven only by a cheap political agenda (to intimidate the opposition, to close a few thai websites and create a red herring for the masses), has become an hilarious saga.

And some officials are even talking about going after Bloomberg (read here) !

I mean… what’s next ? Are they going to arrest a maid, a taxi driver, a farmer, a hooker ? “Rumors mongers” and “national security”… it’s just amazing !

Day after day Thailand ridicules itself, deeper, higher, stronger.

And we shall notice the striking silence of our dear Abhisit, the dashing and so called Oxford-Educated-Prime-Minister-Obama-Style. 😉

What does he think about this story ? Is he laughing ? Crying ? Does he approve ? Is he the initiator ? A mere supporter ? Or does have his hands tied behind his back ?

Where is the “democracy” lover ? The defender of the “rule of the law” ? The politician who was defeated at every elections and who became PM in december thanks to a bozo coup ? The politican who gives lessons ?

Abhisit is just pathetic. A pathetic clown, hostage and accomplice as well of a system that has turned hysterical and paranoid, in a strench of fin de regne.

Abhisit ? Yes We Can’t.

More than ever.

22 Responses to “Police hysteria against “rumors mongers” : owner of a snooker bar arrested”


  1. 1 charlesfrith 5 November 2009 at 4:56 am

    It’s easy to see how Cambodia sucked itself into a vortex of self annihilation during the Khmer Rouge years when I see the same finger-pointing of blame taking place in Bangkok, a few hundred miles from Phnom Penh.

  2. 2 ThaiCrisis 5 November 2009 at 5:09 am

    I’m baffled Charles… While writing, I was thinking exactly about the same thing ! The Khmer Rouges and their insane grinding machine… It starts slowly, and then It becomes out of control.

  3. 3 Bedwyr 5 November 2009 at 9:38 am

    Well the elites and the Palace are on the back foot and determined not to let go. History shows that when this happens, bloodshed is inevitable.

    Pretty soon will come a defining moment. At that moment the way back and a peaceful way forward will no longer be available and those responsible will deny their responsibility in true Thai fashion, though it will be obvious everywhere else in the world.

    Events are being carefully steered. By one side towards a Royalist coup that might be accepted internationally, and by the other towards a coup that would certainly not.

    Interesting times in the dream factory. Personally I think Suthep, Newin and Anupong and pretty-boy Abhisit are going to get the shit kicked out of them.

    If there is a God.

    Bedwyr

  4. 4 Mr. & Mrs. Discbbolos 5 November 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Thailand’s continues demise into a banana republic is well illustrated in the SATIRICAL writings of Not The Nation on the plunge in the stock market:

    2,944 Stock Traders Arrested For “Believing” Rumors.
    http://www.notthenation.com/pages/news/getnews.php?id=830

    Dr Pornthip Arrested For Stating Everyone Must Die Sometime.
    http://www.notthenation.com/pages/news/getnews.php?id=834

    World Health Organization Offices Raided For Spreading “Average Human Lifespan” Rumor.
    http://www.notthenation.com/pages/news/getnews.php?id=833

    Note: This website is not The Nation. It (Not The Nation) is For entertainment purposes only.

  5. 5 ThaiCrisis 5 November 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Yes, this piece is a already a classic. A compulsory one.

    Viva Not The Nation !

  6. 6 George P Tuckeer 5 November 2009 at 1:59 pm

    It’s not hysteria, it’s not funny, it’s not police buffoonery. It’s a calculated political campaign to prepare the populace for regular police crackdowns on the flimsiest of excuses. Make people see enemies behind every door and you earn yourself the right to kick down any door in the name of national security.

    watch how the TV news is spinning this and other events. They soften you up and zombie-fy you with all the inane soap operas, then spring outrageous, politically instigated conspiracy theories at you as news. You begin to accept that the government is doing what it’s doing to protect the nation. Meanwhile the real purpose is to tighten control and dig in to rule exclusively for the long haul.

    If enough people don’t switch off the Tv and start thinking for themselves, they will deserve the government they get.

  7. 7 fall 5 November 2009 at 6:52 pm

    The case is ridiculous. Just looking at big lot trading would point to who benefit from the rumour. But no, police time and taxpayer money are better spent chasing irrelevant small fish on a pretext so they can crackdown on opposing media.
    Two birds with one stone.

    Why do I have a feeling Thailand is just inches away from establishing their own Schutzstaffel?

  8. 8 Pricilla 5 November 2009 at 8:13 pm

    George, just to clarify, are you talking about Thailand or the USA?

  9. 9 George P Tuckeer 6 November 2009 at 7:16 am

    @ Pricilla – Good point. A few years ago, I could’ve been talking about the USA as well as Thailand. Unlike Thailand though, the USA has a self-correcting mechanism that, although limpingly, still works.

    I’m cautiously optimistic that the USA will self-correct. I’m not optimistic about Thailand. Thai democracy has been reverse mode for a while now, and accelerating backwards. American democratic reversal has at least been vigorously resisted, albeit by a minority at first. And the democratic reversal is showing hopeful signs of de-acceleration.

  10. 10 stangoesagain 6 November 2009 at 7:58 am

    “perfectly non-existent manipulation (of the stock market)”

    Bloomberg reported “benchmark stock index fell the most in two months and the baht had its biggest drop since June on speculation the health of King Bhumibol Adulyadej”

    There was a rumor, and the stock market reacted to it.

    No one can say if the rumor wasn’t started on purpose, especially as it spread only within stock trading community.

    For the police the main task is to prove relationship between those who made big gains and those who started the rumor, and arrests of seemingly unimportant people could mean they are simply climbing up the chain. Once the trail goes outside of Thailand, the police has to rely on confessions rather than on tracing IPs and asking service providers to disclose identities.

  11. 11 ray 6 November 2009 at 10:52 am

    pricilla

    touche !

  12. 12 ThaiCrisis 6 November 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Come on Stan ! Don’t give me the “text book”.

    Last week the SET fell too. Rumor ? Last monday, Dow Jones fell 2,15 %. And yesterday he went up by 2 %. Today, the SET is up 2,5 %. Rumor ? It’s just normal behaviour on markets. Sentiment. And sentiment changes, quickly. Up and down.

    When the head of the state, in a country like thailand, is hospitalized since 1 month, at almost 82 years old, for apparently a pneumonia, I mean the surprise was that the stock market DIDN’T FALL BEFORE !

    To say that it was an operation, designed by “rumors mongers”, to attack “national security” blablabla and then to arrest 2 guys and then the owner of a snooker bar is just surreal. It’s a joke. A bad one.

    The whole story is totally non sensical.

  13. 13 stangoesagain 7 November 2009 at 9:10 am

    ThaiCrisis, I wasn’t here when the whole thing happened but I couldn’t escape the headlines when I returned – everybody and his dog saw that particular fluctuation as caused by the mysterious rumor.

    Even Bloomberg attributed it to the “speculation” on King’s health.

    We might disagree on what the authorities should have done about it but I can’t understand why you deny the connection altogether.

  14. 14 ThaiCrisis 7 November 2009 at 10:19 am

    Stan : because you forgot one important point : calendar.

    I would buy the “rumor” hysteria if the King would have been hospitalized the very same day. In secret for instance. And for the first time. Then yes : “insider” info…. rumors…. markets react. Bam.

    Now, in the current story, the calendar is : the King was in hospital since one month already. And with a serious ailment (lung infection). I remind you : in 10 days… it will be 2 months… 2 months in hospital.

    Second point : what are we talking about ? Minus 2,5 % ? is it a krach ? Where are the effects of those so called “rumors” ? Where are the effects on “national security” ?

    Third point : context. We have rumors about King’s health since… YEARS. Because, unfortunatly, the King has had several health issues in the past (a short list here).

    So why the “rumors mongers” would wait several weeks before to attack “national security” (and in the hope to make some bucks) ? It’s strange.

    And within that context, and due to his age, a simple cold would be an alert. Therefore a simple cold could send waves of fear on the thai stock market. At least, for many players
    Eventhough the official communication was… official (It means they did everything to water down the situation)… some players in the stock market would have been able to do 1+1 in their mind and would have been sellers. Since september 19. Without needs for “rumors mongers”.

    I repeat : within such a context, we could have rumors every single day… It would be natural. No need to find any “conspiration” against national security or a grand scam to make money. But rather simple common sense.

  15. 15 stangoesagain 7 November 2009 at 1:01 pm

    The King has been hospitalized before, I don’t think it had any effect on the stocks when it happened again in September.

    However, with nearly a month in a hospital without any real signs of improvement, it was a perfect time to let the big news out – he’s either dead or dying.

    Bloomberg called it the biggest drop in two months, somewhere I saw the figure of 6% on some particular stocks. If that kind of thing can be orchestrated, there’s some serious money to be made.

    Again, I can’t agree with you that there was no market movement related to the rumor. Bloomberg clearly thought so, for example, as did all local reporters.

  16. 16 Bedwyr 7 November 2009 at 7:00 pm

    “I’m cautiously optimistic that the USA will self-correct. I’m not optimistic about Thailand. Thai democracy has been reverse mode for a while now, and accelerating backwards. American democratic reversal has at least been vigorously resisted, albeit by a minority at first. And the democratic reversal is showing hopeful signs of de-acceleration.”

    This seems very true. What worries me is the evident lack of concern from the rest of the world. We all know that dogs and Thais learn their behaviour is bad when they get a slap (as in the hilariously funny Jazzmen thing). I don;t see anyone expressing concern about the increasingly repressive unwinding of democracy.

    Perhaps they don’t care. Perhaps they think Thailand is already a basket case…

    Bedwyr

  17. 17 Bedwyr 7 November 2009 at 7:03 pm

    @TC:

    “october 2007 : blod clot, “surgery for nearly eight hours Saturday after a blood clot in his leg began restricting blood flow to his brain.””

    What? Wtf?

    A blood clot in his leg is restricting the blood flow to his head?

    Aren’t both his legs in the normal place or something? Wtf?

    Bedwyr

  18. 18 George P Tuckeer 8 November 2009 at 1:26 pm

    @ Bedwyr
    Burma is far more strategically important than Thailand. Despite sanctions and pressure and endless hand-wringing things have changed little. The lesson for wanna-be Thai despots is that heeding world opinion has little upside. Even more propitious for these guys is that the world is paying even less attention to Thailand than it is to Burma.

  19. 19 Hans 9 November 2009 at 5:43 pm

    I don’t know, but for me, the arrest looks like a warning shoot to somebody. The question is probably to who? Perhaps, if one would know a little bit more about the background of the arrested person, that could lead to the person, the action was aimed at.

  20. 20 Mr.? 10 November 2009 at 11:27 am

    Thai Netizen Network: Request for Clarification Regarding The Arrests of Internet Users

    http://thainetizen.org/node/802

  21. 21 Tarrin 12 November 2009 at 7:27 am

    Hans – I know the ex-executive of UBS personally, she’s love to post on Prachatai and yes she’s red (red is not always poor and uneducated as some people said) but she’s not that politically active so to speak, she doesnt join the demonstration or such but she doesnt like Coup Detat and the “Thai Thai” system so her role was more about giving people education of why Thailand is so “wrong?, so your assumption is right this is the warning to those red shirt in prachatai that they are being watch and that the government can get them any time.

  22. 22 Lord HAHA 12 November 2009 at 11:47 am

    Selling Thai Stocks For Any Reason Now Punishable By 5 Years In Jail
    http://www.notthenation.com/pages/news/getnews.php?id=846

    BANGKOK – Activity on the SET came to a halt today when the government announced strict new rules designed to prevent a repeat of last month’s sell off, caused by malicious rumors about His Majesty the King’s health.

    Under broad new trading rules, selling stocks is now illegal and punishable by five years in jail or a Bt100,000 fine, or both. The rules are designed by police to counter the “threat to national security” that might be caused by rumors.

    However, without a legal option to sell stocks, it is now impossible to buy them as well. The SET has therefore had no activity whatsoever since its opening this morning.

    Futures on Thai stock funds that are traded on overseas bourses were very active, however, losing on average 97% of their value in day trading as foreign investors dumped anything remotely related to Thailand.

    A spokesperson for the police admitted that the “no sell” rule might have been poorly planned, in light of the need for selling to facilitate buying. However, he pointed out to the stable SET prices as evidence that they were doing the right thing.

    Note: This website is not The Nation. For entertainment purposes only.


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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