An ultra-royalist whose defence of the Thai monarchy allegedly led to the sacking of a Sydney restaurant worker is hoping to move to Australia amid fierce opposition, according to reports.
Ex-Major General Rienthong Nanna is accused of employing an army of supporters to threaten critics of the Thai Royal family with such force that they are driven from the country.
Rienthong is director of the Mongkutwattana Hospital in Bangkok but is more widely known for starting the Rubbish Collection Organisation — a group formed to hold critics of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej accountable.
His victims say his army of fiercely-loyal followers threaten people with death and rape and pursue them relentlessly.
In 2016, Rienthong was behind a targeted harassment campaign against an exiled Thai man living in Sydney that ended with him being fired from his job at a Thai restaurant.
It was reported at the time that Somsak Rachso was forced to flee Thailand after being accused of insulting the Thai Royal family. Doing so is punishable by 15 years in jail.
He told the ABC that the former hardline general turned his army against him even after he left the country.
Rienthong said: “Thai people (in Australia), don’t associate with (Rachso), don’t give him or his family a job.”
The owner of Siam Cuisine Thai restaurant in Penrith in Sydney’s west fired Rachso after the heat was turned up on him.
“I already kicked Somsak out because for safety reasons, I didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” the restaurant owner told the ABC.
Six years later, reports suggest Rienthong, 63, wants to move to Australia.
The Sydney Morning Heraldis reporting that the vigilante has plans to live out his remaining years in Western Australia.
“I am not migrating, running away from charges, seeking asylum or escaping jail, Rienthong wrote on Facebook.
“I only want to take my family to clean my parents’ house and keep it from deterioration.
“A dictator like me is welcomed by the Australian government.”
He said his father purchased land in Perth in 1992 and that leaving Thailand was not a slight against his country of birth.
The Bangkok Post wrote in 2014 that Rienthong wanted to take out the “trash” and was a self-styled Van Helsing.
“Committing lese majeste (speaking badly of the Royal family) is a crime,” he said. “Since there is no one out there to protect (the King), I will be the one who volunteers to do that.
“I see myself as the person who sweeps the dusty floor.
“When I first sweep it, the dust will be blown all over the place. But once I get the dust in the same pile, the floor will look cleaner.”
He said le majeste crimes had been worsening.
“Thailand needs the royal institution to be able to survive,” he said.
“Otherwise people would kill each other for power. The monarchy is the centre of hope, and we need that in order to move on.”
But critics say he should not be able to migrate to Australia.
More than 16,000 people have signed a change.org petition calling for him to be stopped.
“I would like to kindly beg your government to reconsider its permission to allow Rienthong to settle in Australia,” the petition author wrote.
“I have a high respect for Australia as a country which always cherishes democracy and champions human rights.
“Australia is the beacon of democracy in this part of the world. For Australia to grant a permit to someone who has fiercely obstructed democracy and dangerously violated human rights, it would only be a disappointment for friends of Australia.”
Rienthong was approached by Nine Newspapers about his plans to move to Australia. He told them the story was “fake news”.
Story Credit: news.com.au