- Posted December 29, 2010 by
Bangkok Auto Accident Has Facebook Fanpage with 180,000 'like' in 24 hours
Recent Road Accident Highlight Thailand's Broken Justice System
Why does a seemingly mundane auto accident generate Facebook Fanpage with over 180,000 'likes' and counting in less than 24 hours?
On December 27, 2010, news of an accident where a Honda Civic collided with a passenger van that killed 8 of its passengers seem to be just another typical freak auto accident in Bangkok.
Reports coming out of most mass media led people to believe this to be just another case of careless van driver and inadequate safety measure.
However, news coming out of online news portals revealed a more disturbing pictures.
The suspect, the driver of the Honda Civic, is a sixteen year old girl from one of Thailand's 'influential' families. Witness accounts, along with pictures from CCTV, showed that the Honda Civic rear-ended the van at high speed in attempt to push it out of the way.
The force of the collision spun the van spin out of control and ripped it apart, throwing most of the passengers all over the freeway.
At least one of the bodies got thrown all the way to the overhead bridge just below the freeway.
Pictures and tweets coming from social media like Twitter and Facebook showed gruesome details one normally associated with some horror movie.
More importantly, it contradicted what mass media outlets tried to gloss over as just another reckless passenger van driver.
What caused such furor among Thai netizens? The photo of the suspect casually typing into her Blackberry instead of checking up on the victims or calling for help.
The photo, along with information that the suspect is from a famous and influential family, reopened the stil simmering wound left by recent political turmoils and stoked the furor to fever pitch .
Most Thai netizens see the suspect for her nonchalant attitude toward the death she caused and her sense of being above-the-law due to her family name as affirmation to what they already know; that the Thailand justice system is deeply corrupted.
Common sentiment among the Thais is that Justice is Blind unless it's in Thailand where Justice favors the rich, powerful, and influential.
Reports and rumors began to stream in about the 'boss' asking reporters at major mass media to "temper their reporting." As confirmation, I tried to search for this news in Thailand's popular English newspaper webiste and to post comment there.
The comment to give more detail on the story got censored. The coverage follows the typical rickless passenger van driver arc. Calls to couple of the mass media about the event got routed to nowhere or 'no comment' responses.
All major Thai TV channels also fall into the same line. Many even encouraged the victims to sue the dead van driver and/or owner of the van, the ever popular strawman/scapegoat tactic.
The news available followed the line of typical reckless van driver line and my post got censored. It seem like some sort of cover-up is going on in Thai media.
This tactic might have worked in the past. Of course the suspect family did not take into account the outlet which they cannot control, the Internet and Social Media.
Upon actual detail of the story broke through popular Thai news websites like Pantip and Sanook.com, they got flooded with comments.
Most comments expressed outrage at the suspect's behavior. Many believed that she will be exempted due to her family connection (besides being from a famous family, her father is also an influential police officer)
Since they lack confidence in Thai mass media, Thai netizens took their voice to the only place they feel they can rely on; Facebook.
Someone setup Facebook Fanpage tiled "I'm Confident that Over 1 Million Thai People Hate Tephatsin Na Ayudaya." In less than 24hours, the page generated 180,000 'likes' (edited: Now at 240,000)
Looks like all this attention will make it very hard for Thailand's mass media outlets and endemic corrupt system to go about doling out double standard business as usual.