Last check, from available news reports, there are about 20 to 30 Thais, that have exiled themselves out of Thailand, to escape Thailand’s Dictator prosecution, for various activity, such as lese majeste. Under the Yingluck government, while the government continued to crack-down on lese majeste, the space for discussion was much more open than under the Dictator, and thus, many Thais engage in debate to challenge Thai Royalism on a number of issues. With the Dictator, many of those, who engaged in such debate, when the environment was more free, are being prosecuted.
The following is from Prachatai (Source): Thai junta woo others countries to extradite lese majeste suspects in exile
Submitted by editor2 on Wed, 07/01/2015 – 10:45
Thai junta leader said the government will try to cooperate with other countries to extradite lese majeste suspects back to prevent them from undermining the regime from overseas.
According to Thai News Agency, Prayut Chan-o-cha, the head of the junta, revealed during an interview on Tuesday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has sent a letter to New Zealand authority in an attempt to try to extradite Ekapop L., an anti-establishment red-shirt activist, who is believed to be in exile in New Zealand,
Ekapop was accused of defaming the monarchy when he spoke at the red-shirt protest at red-shirt mass gathering at Rajamangala Stadium in Eastern Bangkok in late 2013. The police issued an arrest warrant against him in early 2014.
Prayut pointed out that the letter was to inform the New Zealand authority that the Thai authority has issued an arrest warrant under Article 112 of the Criminal Code against Ekapop, and that in order to prevent the suspect from creating troubles in Thailand from overseas, the New Zealand authority should cooperate with Thailand to extradite the suspect.
These people, he said, are not political prisoners, because they committed crimes under the Criminal Code, so they are normal criminals.
He also added that the Thai government will continue to send similar letters to other countries which are hosting the criminal suspects from Thailand who have engaged in political movement to undermine his regime from overseas.
Earlier on Monday, according to Bangkokbiznews, Sek Wannamethee, the Director-General and the spokesman for the MFA, revealed that last week the MFA invited Shannon Austin, the embassador of New Zealand, for a discussion about the information and current status of Ekapop if he has been granted asylum and residing in New Zealand as he claimed.
Sek cited that the MFA is gravely concerned about Ekapop case because he still engages in political movements against the junta’s reconciliation plan. Therefore, the case might negatively affect the relation between Thailand and New Zealand.
When asked what would be the effects if New Zealand have granted the political refugee status to Ekapop, Sek mentioned that the Thai authority expectห that New Zealand’s authority not to allow the persons who are threats to Thailand’s national security to use the country to facilitate political movement.
Sek added that the Thai embassy in New Zealand reported that some Thai people in New Zealand are now collecting names to submit petition to the New Zealand government in order to not allow Ekapop to stay in the country. Some other Thais also sent a letter to John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and open a Facebook Page to campaign against Ekapop as well.
On 17 December 2014, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, told media that the Thai authorities are trying to cooperate with other countries to hunt down lèse majesté suspects in exile, one of whom is Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a Thammasat University political historian, who went into self-imposed exile shortly after the coup d’état in May.
“We must express to other countries how these people [lèse majesté suspects] have committed crimes according to Thai law,” Bangkokbiznews quoted Prawit as saying.