Shoot first, ask no questions later
In a dramatic late night speech to the nation, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced that Thai Special Forces had killed The Evil One (TEO) in a daring and successful operation in Montenegro.
The PM said that a long-term goal of this administration had now been achieved. One of the major sources of disunity and divisiveness in the nation had been eliminated and therefore all Thais could look forward to a future of prosperity, unity and order. And just in time for the elections.
The operation to remove TEO had been planned for a long time, said the PM, and had been carried out by Thai forces alone, without help from anyone else and without the prior knowledge of the Montenegrin government. This was perfectly in accordance with international law as Thailand understands it and no protest was expected from Montenegro. In fact, the PM had instructed the Foreign Ministry to find or fabricate some way of prosecuting Montenegro at the International Criminal Court for harbouring a known perpetrator of crimes against humanity.
In a follow-up briefing, a military spokesman explained that Thai Navy Seals, transported from their Sattahip base to Montenegro in the Navy’s newly acquired second-hand submarines, had assaulted a luxury mansion situated on its own island off the coast.
Doubts about the mansion had been raised when it was discovered that it had a standing account with a nearby Chinese restaurant, which regularly delivered gourmet meals by speedboat. Suspiciously expensive designer clothes had also been spotted on the washing line. The final clue came when undercover agents managed to discover (from the local land office) that TEO was officially registered as owner and occupier.
Initially, the military reported that TEO was shot after resisting arrest, using an actress-cum-model as a human shield. Later it was revealed that TEO was unarmed but had attempted to thwart the raid by throwing wads of cash at the attackers. This ploy had failed and he was shot in the body and head. The actress had been wounded in cross-fire between the attackers and unarmed defenders.
The identity of TEO was confirmed when members of the raiding team located his bank book and checked the balance. This was exactly what the Ministry of Finance had said it should be, making it certain that the Seals had got their man.
The raiding party removed the corpse of TEO when they withdrew after first handing over wounded members of the household to the Montenegrin health authorities in accordance with international humanitarian law. Rather than give any opportunity for a shrine to TEO to attract and encourage dissident elements, the body had been buried at sea from HTMS Chakri Naruebet, stationed in the Mediterranean.
The media were given photographs of the PM and his security advisors grouped in front of a screen, allegedly watching live coverage as the raid took place. The tension on their faces is palpable, except for Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban, who appears to be salivating.
The official story quickly began to unravel. Observers quickly pointed out that it would have taken months to travel by submarine from Sattahip to Montenegro and in any case, Thailand hadn’t taken delivery of any subs yet. HTMS Chakri Naruebet had also left Sattahip port only once in the past few weeks, for its once-a-month training trip. Since the ship was back in port before nightfall, it could not possibly have travelled to the Mediterranean and back.
Reporters visiting the purported site of the raid could find no evidence that anything had happened. Locals said all had been quiet as normal and no armed men or submarines had been seen. The Montenegrin authorities also denied that any raid had taken place.
Deputy PM Suthep quickly intervened here, asking why anyone had to listen to what farangs said, when everyone knew they could not be trusted, were all part of an international anti-Thai conspiracy, and knew nothing about Thailand.
Bloggers had also taken a closer look at the reflection in a mirror at the back of the room where Abhisit’s security advisors had supposedly been watching the raid. Computer-generated blow-ups show that the assembled leaders had in fact been watching an episode of Dok Som Si Thong, since the image of Reya Wongsawet appeared clearly. This was thought to explain the Deputy PM’s reaction.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to the official account came when the familiar figure later addressed the latest red shirt rally by video link, refuting all claims that he had been killed.
Asked to explain the apparent discrepancies in the official story and TEO’s re-appearance after his alleged murder, a government spokesperson said that in their desperation, the forces of republican evil had resorted to a double, noting that it was typical for the opposition to use such despicable underhand methods when an election was in the offing.
All true Thais would understand the truth, he said. And since the matter had already been explained perfectly, he ordered the media to ask no further questions.