A Challenge to Thai Authority on recent incident involved Hmong
Created on Monday, 19 March 2012 07:52
During the past weekend, there was an unlawful incident that challenged the authority of the Thai government, while no public officials were able to deal with it in an appropriate and timely manner. Ten armed Hmong villagers took four forest rangers in Umphang District of Tak Province hostage. In return for their release, they demanded the release of their two colleagues who were previously arrested by the Thai officials on forest encroachment charges. The Thai authorities agreed to the request.
Threatening and hurting public officials was obviously illegal. However, the incident also reflected the incompetence of local authorities who had allowed it to happen. After the hostages were released, the Thai authorities did not launch a manhunt for the hostile hill-tribe residents until Director-General of the Department of
National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Damrong Pidet sent out over a thousand forest officials in eight northern provinces along with the border military officials and the local police to locate the men. They managed to capture one.
The department chief said the authorities will maintain their presence in the area until all of the ten Hmong villagers surrender.
He added forest encroachment are rampant among Hmong villagers. The blatant incident that involved the villagers and the use of force and arms against public officials was not something that could not be prevented. But the local authority officials failed to respond to it in an appropriate and timely manner until the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation took charge of the matter. This has reflected defects at both operational and policy levels. Everyone knows forest preservation is important, but forest guards should not be left to fend for themselves against any threats and dangers without any help and support.