Thai Environmentalist Goes Missing After Accusing Park Rangers Of Crime

"BANGKOK — Relatives and human rights groups urged Thai authorities on Monday to investigate the disappearance of an environmental activist who has worked to help ethnic Karen villagers report illegal activity at Thailand's largest national park.

Por Cha Lee Rakcharoen, known as "Billy," was detained briefly in Kaengkrachan National Park last Thursday for possessing illegal wild honey but was released and has not been seen since. At the time he was heading to meet villagers and activists to prepare for a lawsuit accusing park officials of burning and destroying the homes and property of more than 20 families in the area.

There are serious concerns about Billy's fate, partly because Thailand has a record of deadly violence directed at land and environmental activists, with perpetrators rarely brought to justice.

Police Col. Woradet Suanklaai said his office was investigating but Billy's whereabouts remained unknown. Billy's wife and a group of villagers met Monday with police and the provincial governor to urge them to solve the case."

Thanyarat Doksone reports for the Associated Press April 21, 2014.

Source: AP, 04/22/2014