BANGKOK– A panel has been set up to probe the cases of missing persons following the disappearance of Thai activist Wanchalerm Satsaksit whose family has claimed he has been kidnapped while in self-exile in Cambodia.
Wanchalerm is believed to have fled Thailand in 2014. He had since lived in Phnom Penh until he was taken by a group of men from his apartment on June 4.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin on Wednesday responded to a motion by opposition MPs seeking explanation about the disappearance of the activist.
He said the panel led by a prominent investigator was tasked for handling cases of missing persons.
But for Wanchalerm’s case, it was not in the jurisdiction of Thai authorities, he noted, therefore, the government, by the Foreign Ministry, could only coordinate with the Cambodian counterparts.
An opposition MP, Rangsiman Rome, slammed the government for neglecting the disappearance of government critic, Wanchalerm.
He accused government officials of dereliction of duties in protecting Thai citizens abroad.
Wanchalerm’s disappearance has sparked a social media campaign calling for answers from both Thai and Cambodian governments. Anti-government groups and human right advocates have also staged protests, including that outside the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok, demanding explanations into the disappearance.
There have been false claims that the 37-year-old man faces a lese majeste charge. Thai police have said he is wanted on a charge of allegedly violating the Computer Crime Act in 2018.
Cambodian authorities have said they were unaware of the alleged abduction as they have no immigration records of Wanchalerm.
There are also reports that Wanchalerm had been involved in illegal marijuana trade and might have business conflicts in Cambodia. (TNA)