First, the Bangkok Post:
Luang Pu Buddha Issara, a core anti-government leader, tried to get rooms for protesting farmers at the Shinawatra family-owned SC Park Hotel on Thursday, but was refused accommodation – and demanded and received 120,000 baht in compensation, plus costs.
Upon arrival about 11.45am, Luang Pu showed the hotel staff his receipt for a deposit of 4,200 baht for the reservation of 10 rooms, which the monk said were reserved for protesting farmers who have been forced to sleep out on the street for some time.
Luang Pu then demanded cash compensation of 120,000 baht, 40,000 baht for fuel for 40 vehicles and 80,000 baht for eight buses.
Mr Ekawit finally paid the requested amount, but Luang Pu also wanted a refund of the deposit, which eventually was paid by Pol Col Sawanhakij.
BP: You can see the iconic picture of the monk counting the money:
Source: the grugq
Yesterday, Buddha Issara visited Voice TV. Before his visit, a Facebook post (WARNING: Don’t scroll down on that page linked to or the site. Very NSFW.) was made on his official Facebook site:
“[You] get money from ads, hundreds of million a year; can you give some to farmers who are distressed!” (รับงบโฆษณา มาปีละหลายร้อยล้าน เอามาแบ่งปันให้พี่น้องชาวนา ที่เดือดร้อนบ้างหน่อยได้ไม๊.!)….for the money you can get from taxes for advertisements, if you have any heart [you] will donate to farmers farmers who are in real trouble. We will then be very happy. [We] are not ‘snatching [your] assets’, but farmers accept donations. If you have faith then you should have sympathy for them!! (ส่วนเรื่องรายได้จากเงินภาษี งบโฆษณาของคุณ ถ้าจะมีแก่ใจ ช่วยบริจาคให้แก่พี่น้องชาวนาที่เดือดร้อนจริงๆ เราก็จะถือว่าน่ายินดี นี่ไม่ได้มา “ตบทรัพย์” นะแต่ลูกหลานชาวนามาขอเรี่ยไร รับบริจาค หากคุณจะมีศรัทธา ก็เห็นใจพวกเขาหน่อยเถอะ..!!)
BP: The site is maintained by his followers and his team at the temple so it is not his words, but it is his FB page for which other posts appears in his name. On its own, it is not clear extortion, but in light of the hotel extortion, you could say it is a friendly warning to make a donation that the monk couldn’t refuse if they want to be left alone.
Then today, the Bangkok Post (buried at the end of the article):
In another development, PDRC co-leader Witthaya Kaewparadai led a group of protesters from their rally site in the Silom area to M Link Asia Corporation Plc on Soi Sukhumvit 62, which is believed to be owned by Chinicha Wongsawat, a niece of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Julapak Krueasopon, vice president of M Link, emerged to negotiate with the protesters and offered to sell them three mobile handsets at a discounted price of 10,000 baht each compared with the standard price of 15,000 baht.
The protesters, however, said they would return today to buy a thousand handsets of this model at the promised price and if the company refused to sell them at a discount, then they would file a complaint with police.
BP: Plain and simple, this is an extortion racket. There is no other way to describe it. With the courts on their side, who knows what other absurd decisions may arise from not selling the mobile phones at a discount… It is another way to raise money to keep rallies alive….