Avoiding questions from the media, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha left a cardboard cutout of himself as a substitute.
Prayuth spoke at a news conference just outside the Government House, his official residence, in Bangkok on Jan. 8.
The meeting, attended by Thai families and reporters, was held ahead of Children’s Day on Jan. 13. By then, children can visit the prime minister’s residence and office.
After Prayuth’s brief talk, a cardboard replica was brought to the venue as he walked away.
“If you want to ask any questions on politics or conflict, ask this guy,” BBC quoted him as saying.
The cutout, along with 16 others, will likely be displayed on Children’s Day. Journalists may have hoped to raise queries related to the November elections or the controversial lèse majesté laws, which forbid insult to Thai royalty.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch criticized Prayuth’s gesture, claiming that it showed “contempt of media criticism” that added to his “long list of his bizarre and bullying reactions to reporters.”
The prime minister is allegedly known for his public outbursts. In 2015, he told reporters that he had the power to execute them, according to Reuters.
On one occasion, he also threw a banana peel at a reporter.
While Prayuth clearly evaded the media, he spoke to several children inside the residence, local outlet The Nation reported.
He stated that it is important to “engage young people with potential to get in line with 21st-Century democracy” and that Thailand needs to “create a new generation of politicians.”
What do you think of Prime Minister Prayuth’s gesture?