Soldiers has summarily killed a Lahu youth activist after attempted to arrest him as an alleged drug suspect.
On 17 March 2017, soldiers and other security officers of Pha Muang Task Force deployed at a checkpoint in Mueang Na Subdistrict of Chiang Dao District in Chiang Mai Province summarily killed Chaiyaphum Pasea, a 17-year-old Lahu ethnic minority.
The soldiers claimed that they found certain amount of amphetamine in the car Chaiyaphum was sitting in and that he was resisting the authorities to arrest him by pulling out a knife before running into a bush.
The security officers added that when they found the suspect in the bush he was about to throw a bomb at the soldiers, so they shot him.
The only civilian witness of the event is Phongsanai (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), the driver of the car, who is now detained by the police. He will be taken to Chiang Mai Prison for remand as the court already approved a custody permission for him.
The killing of Chaiyaphum raised many questions because he was an active youth activist who participating in many events to promote the rights of ethnic minorities in Northern Thailand.
On 15 March, he was among the 19 youth representatives of ethnic minorities who attended a youth activist forum organised by the National Institute for Child and Family Development in Bangkok.
He was also awarded a prize at the 16th Thai Short Film and Video Festival for a short film called ‘Belt and Comb’ and several of his short documentaries were broadcasted on Thai PBS.
The late activist is also a gifted song writer who composed ethnic folk songs about his communities.