Environmentalist Killed In Thailand

Prajob Nao-opas was an activist who called attention to toxic waste dumping in Thailand. He was shot one recent afternoon four times while waiting for service on his truck  to be completed.

Lumphini_ParkThe Bangkok Post reported Prajob had campaigned against factories polluting areas in Phanom Sarakham and Plaeng Yao districts. Pol Maj Gen Niwat Rattathammawat said it was likely the cause of the killing was his attempts to draw attention to the alleged toxic dumping.

Several ponds at higher altitudes were reportedly filled with industrial waste above safe concentrations. At times the runoff from these ponds was said to be entering lower waterways. One of the chemicals was carcinogenic phenol.

“The cold-blooded killing of Prajob marks yet another example of the fundamental failure of Thai authorities to protect activists who risk their lives while defending their communities. The government must undertake a serious investigation to bring those responsible for his death to justice, regardless of the status or political affiliation of the killers,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. (Source: Bangkok Post)

The Chachoengsao police warned Prajob in December that he could be in danger, due to his activism. At that time, he did not request police protection. This might have been because of not trusting them. Police corruption is a documented problem in some parts of Thailand.

Last year, a conservationist and teacher was shot and his daughter killed by the same perpetrator. The man who was shot was Chavalit Saeng-arun, a 57-year-old who worked at Ban Nong Jaeng school in Chai Nat’s Hankha district. Critics have noted police had a good idea who killed the daughter, but did not arrest the suspect, who later shot the father as well.

In 2011, an anti-coal activist was shot by assailants.

Image Credit: Terence Ong, Wiki Commons

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