I have received the following message from Ji Ungpakorn, author of A Coup for the Rich.

Thai Special Branch Police ban the sale of “A Coup for the Rich”

I have just been informed today by Thammasart University bookshop, the only bookshop to agree to sell my book, that the Thai special branch have issued a letter to the shop banning the sale of “A Coup for the Rich”.

This book, which was published in January 2007, has sold over 900 copies, almost its entire print run. Mostly the book was sold directly by myself or by Thammasart University bookshop. This is because my own university bookshop refused to sell the book, citing “incorrect procedure”.

“A Coup for the Rich” criticises the military coup and the liberals who supported the coup. It discusses the role of the Thai Monarchy, citing the work of Paul Handley (The King Never Smiles). There is a chapter on the politics of the Peoples’ Movement. The final chapter deals with the crisis in the South.

I shall provide updates of the situation as they become clearer. Anyone wishing to obtain copies of the book can do so by sending me 200 baht. Alternatively people can download this book for free in pdf file form from: www.pcpthai.org, or http://wdpress.blog.co.uk/, or http://www.isj.org.uk/ .

The banning of academic books by governments or bookshops is a gross infringement of democracy and academic freedom. Unfortunately this practice has become more frequent under the junta. The emergence of a PPP government lead by Samak Suntarawej is not encouraging either. As Interior Minister in 1976, Samak banned around 100 academic books and ordered their removal from libraries throughout the country.

[UPDATE from Ji:] Bangkok Metropolitan Police, acting under an appeal from the Special Branch to investigate my book, have issued a letter to the Thamasart bookshop banning the sale of “A Coup for the Rich”. According to the letter, dated 18 January 2008, the book is currently under investigation concerning charges of lèse majesté. The letter, signed by deputy police chief Chutti Tamanowanij, states that the continued sale of the book risks creating a “misunderstanding” about the Monarchy among the Thai population. The book is on sale at the New Internationalist bookshop in Melbourne and Bookmarx in London.