Life as a 'guest detainee' of the Thai military

Life as a 'guest detainee' of the Thai military

Why did the Thai military junta keep us as their "guest detainees" for up to a week without charges?

Is it about intimidation, punishment, a show of power, a psychological ploy, a mere warning - or all of the above?

One Army colonel at the military camp in Ratchaburi province, where a dozen of us ended up under military detention, said it was like handing us a football yellow card but not yet a red card. His boss, the camp's commander, who holds the rank of major-general and who called us "older brothers", said we should think of the "stay" as a sort of "vacation". Most of us couldn't fail to see who was the real "Big Brother", as we were being observed, our phones taken away and not knowing when we might be able to leave, if at all.

They treated our group, which included two former deputy prime ministers, the leader of the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy, Sondhi Limthongkul, the legal adviser to former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, red-shirt leaders, myself and others with respect and politeness.

Make no mistake, it was like being in a surreal Big Brother Reality Show where, instead of voters making the call, it was the military junta calling the shots. Most of us simply wanted to get the hell out of the camp as soon as we could instead of being the last man held.

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