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How to evade questions? Thai PM tells reporters to quiz cardboard cut-out

Prayuth Chan-ocha has previously fondled the ear of a sound technician during an impromptu news conference, flung a banana peel at cameramen, and threatened to execute any journalist who criticised his government.

world Updated: Jan 09, 2018 13:02 IST
Associated Press
Thailand Prime Minister,Thai PM,Prayuth Chan-ocha
A cardboard cut-out of Thailand's Prime Minster Prayuth Chan-ocha is seen next to a microphone after a news conference at government house in Bangkok, Thailand.(Reuters Photo)

Thailand’s Prime Minister evaded journalists’ questions on Monday by bringing out a life-sized cardboard cutout of himself and telling the reporters to quiz it instead of him.

Prayuth Chan-ocha then turned on his heel and walked off, leaving the mock-up behind, to bemused looks and awkward laughter from the Government House press pack.

The Prime Minister had briefly spoken to the media after attending an event promoting upcoming Children’s Day, but deployed his dodging tactic before anyone could ask him about a number of pressing political issues.

“If you want to ask any questions on politics or conflict,” he said, “ask this guy.”

It isn’t the first time Prayuth — a general who seized power in a bloodless coup in 2014 — has dumbfounded the media. In the past he has fondled the ear of a sound technician for several minutes during an impromptu news conference, flung a banana peel at cameramen, and threatened, with gruff humour, to execute any journalist who criticised his government.

Prayuth Chan-ocha directs the scene as a life-sized cardboard cut-out figure of himself is carried into view by an aid, in Bangkok. (AP Photo)

When it took power, his government, packed with military leaders, enjoyed considerable public support for ending a prolonged period of often-violent street politics. But as the junta’s rule has stretched on, criticism of its often-repressive policies and lack of transparency has grown markedly.

Prayuth has promised elections in November, though he has made similar promises several times previously and then delayed the balloting.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 12:59 IST