Thailand protests: missing activist Wanchalerm fuels challenge to military, royal elite

Thailand protests: missing activist Wanchalerm fuels challenge to military, royal elite

The sister of a Thai activist who disappeared during his self-exile in Cambodia believes her brother’s suspected abduction has helped galvanise the current pro-democracy movement against the unpopular government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Wanchalerm Satsaksit was in June pulled into a van on a Phnom Penh street in broad daylight and has not been seen since. Rights groups have called on Cambodia and Thailand to investigate the incident, which was partly captured on security cameras.

The 37-year-old, who fled an arrest warrant issued by Thailand’s junta in 2014, continued to post satirical attacks against Prayuth’s government from abroad, fuelling suspicions he was abducted.

Posters of his smiling face holding up the protest emblem – a three-fingered salute from The Hunger Games – have in recent months featured at mass rallies demanding reform of Thailand’s government and monarchy.