Thai PM creates novel way to avoid nation's media

Chan Ocha in Bangkok in 2016. Credit Lillian Suwanrumpha  Agence France Presse — Getty Images

"Whoever wants to take a picture, ask political questions. about conflict. ask this guy", he told a bemused crowd, pointing to the cut-out placed in front of a microphone. His comments have also been menacing. In another separate incident, he threw a banana peel at a reporter.

Although many journalists responded with laughter and took selfies with the cutouts that were produced for Thailand's Children's Day, a New York-based nongovernmental organization said this was part of a "long list of his [Chan-ocha's] weird and bullying reactions to reporters".

When the Prime Minister's junta took power, his government - packed with military leaders - enjoyed considerable public support for ending a prolonged period of often-violent street politics. He announced last fall that an election would occur later in 2018, but some doubt that will happen since other announcements have been delayed in the past.

However, it has yet to lift a ban on political campaigning despite pressure from groups of all political stripes.


Thailand's prime minister, after his news conference, asked reporters to direct questions for him to his cardboard replica in a smart move to by-pass questions, reports BBC.

Not, however, for Thailand's Prayuth Chan-ocha, who adopted a freakish and novel approach to avoiding hard questions in a move which left reporters scratching their heads. It appeared as if he was going to finish the event by taking questions, but Prayuth had something else in mind; supervising the installation of a life-sized cardboard cut-out of himself.

Cardboard cutouts of the Prime Minister feature him engaging in such favorite activities as punting a soccer ball, offering a handshake and having no response as to why students are getting arrested for protesting their country's military leadership.

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a general who seized power in a coup a few years ago, turned and walked away after briefly addressing the media Monday, leaving behind a two-dimensional cardboard cutout of himself for questions.

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