Air Force Clarifies Photo Of 'National Flag-Covered' Stairs

(11 August) A Royal Air Force spokesman dismissed claims made by some anti-government
activists that the Thai National Flag was laid on the passengers stairs leading to one of the official

controversy started when the photo of the stairs which was seemingly covered with the Tricolour Flag
of red, white, and blue surfaced on a number of Facebook pages dedicated to anti-government causes.
The enraged netizens view the photo as a proof of the government′s insulting attitude toward the

Although only one colour in the flag – blue – represents the Royal Family (the other
colours, red and white, represent the nation and religions, respectively), the accusation fits well
with the belief held by many anti-government critics that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra along
with her brother the former leader Thaksin Shinawatra and her allies harbour a plot to overthrow the

Associates of Ms. Yingluck and Mr. Thaksin have repeatedly denied the accusation, but the
belief persists in the predominantly-royalist Yellowshirts movements, the sworn enemies of what
they call ?Thaksin Regime?.

is not the first – many would say nonsensical – controversy concerning the perceived abuse of Thai
National Flag. 
this year, an actress was widely criticised for appearing on a TV soap drama in a skirt painted in
colours that appeared to resemble the National Flag.

A Democrat MP named Chatpan Dechkitsunthorn even filed a complaint to
broadcasting agencies, saying the TV drama producers should take care not to repeat such action.
However, it later emerged that the actress was wearing a skirt of pink, blue, and white – a near
miss from the National Flag colours.

A few months later, some online communities in Thailand were outraged by a Korean online
game because it reportedly featured a rug made with Thai National Flag colours on the

much discussion on the internet about the latest alleged misuse of Thai National Flag, Air Marshal
Monthin Satchukorn, a spokesman of the Royal Air Force, told Matichon that the stairs were actually not covered with the

spokesman explained that the officials were placing a red carpet-clad stairs to the aircraft in
preparation for a VIP arrival. Fearing that the red carpet might be stained during the wait and
pre-flight aircraft checking procedure, the officials place a grey and dark blue plastic matte to
cover the stairs? carpet, AM. Monthin said.

When the supervisors saw it, they immediately told the officials to remove the
matte because it looks like the National Flag from afar, the spokesman was quoting as saying, But
apparently someone managed to take photo of it and shared it on social network, causing much

Monthin continued, “I do not know the intention of the person who spread the picture, but our
officers are sorry for not thinking this through. They said they did not know someone would take
photo of it”.

According to the spokesman, Air Chief Marshal Prajin Janthong, the commander of the Royal
Air Force, had previously emphasised to all Air Force officers to be more careful with such
sensitive issues in order to avoid criticism and falling into tool of political smear

Furthermore, he added, the aircraft belonged to the Thai Royal Family, and the red carpet
was laid out for the arrival of a Royal Family member.

Following the revelation, the accusation of the Yingluck government
insulting the monarchy via the staircase colour choice quickly dissipated in the online community.
However, many believe that it won?t be too long before a new allegation arises.