Sakon Nakhon anti-mining activist files police complaint over intimidation

SAKON NAKHON – On Tuesday, an environmental activist in Sakon Nakhon filed a complaint with the provincial police, contending that a man who claimed to be a police officer had threatened his family.

According to the complaint, filed with the Kham Ta Kla Provincial Police, an unidentified man came to the house of activist Satanon Chuenta on February 19.

He asked Mr. Satanon’s mother, Yi Chuenta, who was alone at home, about her son’s whereabouts. He referred to the activist’s participation in the “We Walk” campaign in Khon Kaen on the weekend

When Ms. Yi refused to disclose any information, the man accused her of lying and threatened her son’s safety might be at risk.

The man claimed to be an officer of the Kham Ta Kla Provincial Police station investigating Mr. Satanon’s political activity. But according to Police Captain Banphot Bunphairot no police officer had been ordered to visit Mr. Satanon’s home.

Mr. Satanon told The Isaan Record in a phone interview that the incident left him worried about his personal safety. “I’m feeling like my life might be in danger. That’s why I filed a police complaint today, to use it as evidence,” he said.

Satanon Chuenta (on the right), a 37-year-old activist, said his family had been threatened by a man claiming to be a police officer.

Mr. Satanon is a prominent local activist and member of an environmental conservation group opposing a potash mining project in the province’s Wanon Niwat District. Last year, a Chinese state-owned company, China Ming Ta Potash Corporation, began surveying the area to set up a mine.

Local residents are concerned the mining project will damage their farm lands, contaminate water sources, and make people sick. Mr. Satanon said government agencies have provided far too little information about the exploration project.

Last year, human rights groups warned that local anti-mining activists in the region are under surveillance by the authorities, and face increasing legal pressure to stop their activism.