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Disappeared activist’s sister says she heard Cambodian men talking

THE sister of an outspoken Thai anti-government activist who was allegedly abducted in Phnom Phen on Thursday said she heard four to five men talking in Cambodian language via the his mobile phone before his disappearance, Voice TV Online reported today (June 6, 2020).

Wanchalearm Satsaksit, 37, who had self-exiled in the Cambodian capital, last spoke to his sister Sinanta Satsaksit before he disappeared at 5.54 p.m. on June 4 after coming down to buy food in front of the condo he was living in.

Ms Sinanta said she heard Wanchalearm cry out “Aww, I can’t breath” intermittently for about 30 minutes with there being voices of four to five men talking in Cambodian language also audible before the line was cut off.

“Initially I thought he might have been hit by a car so called people there to help but later some of them told me that he had been abducted,” she said.

“Can’t sleep I heard it all, I talked to him everyday, talked about work, how his work is progressing, and how  the business plan doing.

“ I have decided that when Covid-19 ends I will take a team to look into this issue, I can’t accept it, we talked everyday and now don’t know how he is,” she added.

She also mentioned that currently her brother, a Cambodian trader and herself were making plans for an agricultural business and exports.

This trader is following up on Wanchalearm’s disappearance and she has also been contacted by the UN to assist in speeding up the case.

The Thai social media is closely following this case with #saveวันเฉลิม (Hashtag Save Wanchalearm) being the top trend in this country at  4.10 p.m. yesterday and most people hoping that he is safe, Sanook.com reported.

Meanwhile an AFP report published by France24 said Cambodian police yesterday ruled out a probe into the alleged disappearance of Wanchalearm after a rights group said he had been abducted in broad daylight from outside his Phnom Penh apartment.

Wanchalearm, a sharp critic of the Thai government, was dragged into a black car on Thursday evening, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Citing several witnesses and CCTV from security cameras, HRW says he was on the phone with a colleague when he was taken by “a group of armed men”.

But yesterday, Cambodian police said they knew nothing the of the alleged disappearance.

“We don’t know about it, so what should we investigate?” Chhay Kim Khoeun, the spokesman of Cambodian National Police told AFP.

Wanchalearm is wanted in Thailand for allegedly breaching the criminal Computer Crimes Act by running an acerbic anti-government Facebook page.

Wanchalearm last posted on his personal Facebook account a few hours before his disappearance, writing cryptically “Compromise Mode”.

A spokesman for Cambodia’s Interior Ministry suggested the HRW report could be “fake news”.

“We don’t where HRW got the information,” Khieu Sopheak told AFP, adding “there’s a lot of fake news out there”.


Top: Wanchalearm giving the three-finger salute from the film The Hunger Games with Thai headline simply being the Save Wanchalearm hashtag. Photo: Sanook.com


TNR staff
I am veteran journalist and part of ThaiNewsroom.com’s editorial team. We are working hard at making this news site a success and value the support of each and every reader

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