In Insult to Press, Thai PM Gets Cardboard Cutout to Face Queries

Seventeen life-size cutouts of Prayuth have been set up around the government compound to face reporters’ questions.

Published
World
2 min read
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, left, directs the scene as a life-size cardboard cut-out figure of himself is carried into view by an aid in Bangkok.
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Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, known for his temperamental outbursts, has adopted a gimmick to avoid tricky questions from reporters – a cardboard cutout of himself for reporters to quiz.

Seventeen life-size cutouts of Prayuth have been set up around the government compound ahead of Children's Day on Saturday. They show Prayuth in various outfits including sportswear, work suits and traditional Thai attire.

On Monday, Prayuth spoke briefly at Government House before a cutout of Prayuth in a suit and tie was brought out. Prayuth, who is known for his abstruse sense of humor, then told journalists to refer any questions to the cardboard cutout.

“Ask this guy,” he said.  

Reaction to the bizarre gesture was largely muted on social media on Tuesday but Human Rights Watch said it added to a "long list of his bizarre and bullying reactions to reporters".

"Thailand's junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha continues to show contempt of media criticism and scrutiny," Sunai Phasuk, senior Thailand researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

Human Rights Watch said it shows the military junta chief’s “contempt of media criticism” in a country yet to restore democracy since a 2014 coup.

In 2015, he warned journalists that he had the power to execute them. In another separate incident, he threw a banana peel at a reporter.

Prayuth's government has announced it will hold a general election in November 2018 after repeatedly delaying the vote.

(With inputs from Reuters, AP)

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