Hong Kong activist barred by Thai military regime

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred from entering Thailand and deported Oct. 5. The 19-year-old was detained on arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport, held by police for 12 hours and then flown back to Hong Kong. Wong had been invited by Thai student activist Netiwit Chotipatpaisal to speak at events marking the 40th anniversary of a student massacre in 1976. The deputy commander of Suvarnabhumi airport's immigration office said at a press conference that Wong was blacklisted after China asked the Thai government to deny him entry, according to a report in Thai media. Thailand's military rulers, in power since a 2014 coup, denied any role in the detention. But junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters after the deportation: "He already went back to China. Officials there have requested to take him back. It's Chinese officials' business. Don't get involved too much. They are all Chinese people no matter Hong Kong or mainland China."

Wong was invited to address an annual event commemorating the Oct. 14, 1973 student uprising that ended a period of military rule and the Oct. 6, 1976 Thammasat University massacre that opened a new such period. The official death toll in the 1976 massacre was 46, while credible independent estimates put it at over 100. (AP, Oct. 6; BBC News, Bangkok Post, SCMP, Oct. 5; Prachatai, Oct. 4)