BANGKOK — Yet another public commemoration of a 1932 revolt that ended absolute monarchy in Thailand was removed without any explanation.
A statue of revolt co-leader Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsongkram at the army-run National Defense College has gone missing when a reporter visited the site on Tuesday. Two other statues associated with the 1932 coup, which installed parliamentary democracy in Thailand, were also removed in recent days.
“I will not give you the information,” an staff member at the college – founded by Pibulsongkram himself 64 years ago – said when questioned where the statue of its founder went to. The man declined to give his name.
Even a wall-size plaque bearing the Field Marshal’s biography was also taken down and painted over.
Another employee at the academy insisted the statue is being kept somewhere inside the facility.
“It’s not gone, just being kept inside but I can’t answer whether it will be returned to the same place,” the man said. He added that only his commanding officers are authorized to give detailed answers, but they are out of the college today.
When reached by a reporter, army spokesman Winthai Suvaree and defense ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich declined to comment.
“I don’t know. You must ask those at the organization,” Col. Winthai said after a laugh.
The college described itself on its website in English as “the national premier institution on strategy and security interdisciplinary studies.”
Officers who hold a minimum rank of colonel, as well as executives from the private sector, are routinely trained there on the subject of national defenses, though critics say the academy is an incubator for nepotism and networking among the up-and-coming elites.
Among its alumni is the current deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.