Thai coup: Catch me if you can, says red leader

Thai coup: Catch me if you can, says red leader
One of the new ''Red Shirt'' leaders, Sombat Boonngamanong.

Red Sunday Group leader Sombat Boonngam-anong is the first person on the list of 114 summoned by the military junta yesterday who has publicly refused to report, saying that staging a coup was illegitimate. He challenged the junta on Twitter and Facebook to catch him if they can.

"Hilarious. Not reporting [to the junta] is considered a criminal offence. But when they deploy tanks to seize power and tear down the Constitution, it is not even a violation of the Criminal Act," Sombat tweeted at around 1.40pm yesterday from his @nuling tweet account.

Sombat's whereabouts are not known and the junta, which staged the coup on Thursday afternoon and created the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC), warned that anyone on the list who did not report would face a criminal charge.

Sombat, in his mid-40s and known for his role in leading a small group of protesters in the aftermath of the bloody crackdown on red shirts in 2010 and as a member of a prominent anti-2006 coup network, has vowed to evade the military junta.

One Twitter user noted: "If [Sombat] manages to avoid capture until the end of military rule, I don't see how he could be prosecuted."

With blanket broadcast-media blackout by the junta, which saw even the BBC and CNN news channels being removed by the local cable-TV providers, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook became the last bastion of public opinion not encroached on by the junta.

Suda Rangkupan, another red-shirt leader and a former Chulalongkorn University academic, known for her calls to release all political prisoners, including lese majeste detainees, is another one still active on Twitter.

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