Family of missing Thai activist pleads for ‘release’

BANGKOK (AFP) – The family of a self-exiled Thai democracy activist pleaded for his release, days after he was allegedly abducted in neighbouring Cambodia.

Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a critic of the ex-general Prayut Chan-O-Cha’s Thai government, was dragged into a black car on Thursday in Phnom Penh, Human Rights Watch claimed, citing witness and CCTV footage from security cameras.

But Cambodian police said they knew nothing of his alleged disappearance and that they were not going to open an investigation.

“Please release Wanchalearm. We will look forward to this with hope,” his family said in a statement. “We hope this enforced disappearance will be the last time.”

Wanchalearm is wanted in Thailand for running an acerbic anti-government Facebook page.

He had allegedly breached the Computer Crimes Act and Article 116 in the Thai penal code, which criminalises writings that create “chaos”, said National Police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen. But “although (Wanchalearm) is wanted by Thai authorities, we have followed strict rules and regulations” in requesting information from other parties, he told AFP.

Krissana said Thai police had “no idea” about the dissident’s whereabouts.

File photo of Wanchalearm Satsaksit. PHOTO: AP