Junta Denies Knowledge of Missing Republican Activists

A Happy Songkran message posted by 'Uncle Sanam Luang' in April 2019. Image: Truth Channel / YouTube

BANGKOK — The junta on Friday denied reports that it has detained three republican activists who disappeared earlier this week while exiled in Vietnam.

Deputy junta chairman Prawit Wongsuwan said the allegation that the three men are in the military’s custody is baseless.

The three missing men include Chucheep Chivasut, who’s said to be the voice behind a popular anti-monarchy Youtube video series, and two of his aides, named Siam Teerawuth and Krissana Tubthai.

Using the pseudonym “Uncle Sanam Luang”, Chucheep routinely lashed out at the Royal Family and encouraged his supporters to overthrow the monarchy in Youtube videos.


Media reports said Chucheep and his two companions were last seen in April in Vietnam, where they sought refuge after fleeing Thailand in 2014 to avoid the military’s crackdown on those who insult the monarchy.

An activist group called Thai Alliance for Human Rights alleged that the trio was arrested by Vietnamese authorities before being extradited to Thailand, the claim denied by Gen. Prawit today.

Chucheep is the latest critic of the monarchy to go missing while in exile without any explanation from the Thai authorities.

In 2017, hardline republican Wutthipong ‘Ko Tee’ Kochathmmakun disappeared in Laos and was never seen again.

Activist and former lese majeste convict Surachai Danwattanusorn, along with two companions called Chatchan Boonphawal and Kraidet Luelert, also disappeared late last year.


DNA tests established that two mutilated bodies later found along the Mekong River belonged to Chatchan and Kraidet. Although Surachai’s fate remains unclear, his wife believes him to be dead.

Speaking to reporters today, Gen. Prawit promised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Special Branch Police will provide formal updates if there are any developments on Chucheep’s whereabouts.