Murder In Thailand By The Police!

Jon Ungphakorn, writing in the Bangkok Post, tells the story of a lawyer named Somchai Neelaphaijit who left his office one day to head off to a meeting, meet a client, stop to pray at a mosque, and have a meal. Toward evening, he told his daughter that he was fatigued, got in his car and headed for the home of his brother. On the way, a car bumped him from the rear and when he got out to inspect the damage, five members of the police suddenly seized him, threw him in their car and sped away. That is what happened to lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit on March 12, 2004. To this day, no trace of his body has ever been found.

Five members of the police were tried for the abduction, but only one was convicted and he is appealing the sentence. Under Thai law one can not be tried for kidnapping unless a ransom is demanded and since they probably killed the lawyer, no such request was ever made. It is widely believed that top officials of the Thaksin Shinawatra administration were actively involved in the abduction and murder but no attempt has ever been made to pursue that line of inquiry. Somchai was a prominent human rights defender and was active in working for the rights of Muslims in southern Thailand.

This event together with more than 2,000 extrajudicial killings took place in 2003 and 2004 during a war on drugs. During this time there was the mass killing of the entire Sabayoi football teacm and the deaths of 78 demonstrators who were arrested. Up to this point, the Thai military, police and many political leaders involved in these deaths have never been prosecuted.