Missing activist's wife turns to Thai junta for help

Missing activist's wife turns to Thai junta for help
Pinnapa Preuksapan visits the Royal Thai Army headquarters yesterday to call on the National Council for Peace and Order to help find her husband, a prominent Karen activist who has been missing since April.

The wife of a prominent Karen activist, missing since April 17, has called on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to help find her husband.

Pinnapa Preuksapan submitted a petition yesterday addressed to NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha via Colonel Anucha Chumkham, who heads the Army's PR Division.

"There is no progress with the investigation into his disappearance," she lamented.

Pholachi "Billy" Rakchongcharoen was last seen with the chief of Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi before he mysteriously disappeared.

Separately, Kriangkrai Cheechuang of the Karen Network for Culture and Environment yesterday dismissed a claim by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) that Karen people had been cutting down trees in the forest with automatic saws.

"The Karen do not have such heavy equipment," he said.

Meanwhile, in a move to have the case ready for consideration by the Special Case Committee next week, officials from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) went to Kaeng Krachan to gather more information about the Karen-Thai people's plight and Billy's disappearance.

This follows the release of a video clip showing Kaeng Krachan National Park officials allegedly felling trees filmed by Billy before he disappeared.

In another report, the Protected Areas Regional Office 3 has said it will set up a committee to look into the alleged logging in a week.

Billy reportedly wanted to use this clip as evidence of officials' abuse of authority to back his allegation that park officials were forcing 20 Karen families living in upper Bang Kloy to move to lower Bang Kloy in July 2011. The area in question was incorporated in Kaeng Krachan National Park in 1981.

Then-Kaeng Krachan park chief Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn has denied using "heavy" techniques and insisted that the Karen encroached upon the forest.

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