Thai Prime Minister uses cardboard cutout of himself to avoid journalists' questions

Thai Prime Minister uses cardboard cutout of himself to avoid journalists' questions

Thailand's prime minister has found a novel way to avoid journalists' questions: producing 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 assembled media, to whom he had spoken briefly after attending an event promoting the country's upcoming Children's Day.

Human Rights Watch on Monday condemned Prayuth's stunt, calling it another show of contempt for "media criticism and scrutiny". They show Prayuth in various outfits including sportswear, work suits and traditional Thai attire. His comments have also been menacing.

Although many journalists responded with laughter and took selfies with the cutouts that were produced for Thailand's Children's Day, a New York-based nongovernmental organization said this was part of a "long list of his [Chan-ocha's] freaky and bullying reactions to reporters".

In 2015 he warned journalists that he had the power to execute them. According to USA Today, the prime minister once threw a banana at a reporter.

Thai prime minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha points at a cardboard cut out of himself before walking away from a press conference. Source Youtube
Thai prime minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha points at a cardboard cut out of himself before walking away from a press conference. Source Youtube

When Chan-ocha took control in 2014, CBS News reported that his government enjoyed public support for ending politically motivated violence, but that support later ended after residents took notice of the government's repressive policies.

Last year, the prime minister lifted a ban on political activity that had been in place since the bloodless coup in 2014, and announced that elections will be held in November 2018.

Reporters as well as some parents and children who had gone to see the premier in the lead-up to Children's Day on Saturday were disappointed.

After ducking reporters, the prime minister met with children at the Government House, reported the Bangkok Post.

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