The "hacktivist" collective Anonymous has brought down several websites affiliated with the Thai police, in protest over the controversial conviction of two Burmese migrant workers on charges of murder and rape. The group launched its campaign earlier this week with a 37-minute Facebook video, urging its followers to hack 15 different police sites, including one operated by the Bangkok Metropolitan Police Bureau. As of Wednesday, seven of the sites were down, with "Failed Law. We want Justice. #BoycottThailand" splashed across their homepages, The Guardian reports. The group also published several email addresses affiliated with the Thai police.
Migrant workers Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death last month for the 2014 murder of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller. The men confessed to murdering the tourists and raping Witheridge, but later retracted their confessions, saying they made them after being tortured by police. Thai police have come under criticism for their handling of DNA evidence, and human rights groups have raised concerns that the suspects may have been scapegoated, pointing to previous cases where migrants were falsely accused of crimes. Anonymous also cited previous cases where non-Thai nationals were accused in criminal cases involving foreigners.
"It’s not a problem. Thai police are excellent."
In the Facebook video, a masked Anonymous member says the Thai police “would rather blame foreigners or migrants for such crimes so as to protect their tourism industry than accuse their own Thai locals," which would "deter tourists from choosing Thailand as their holiday destination."
Thai police have denied accusations of torture or mishandling the case, and have vowed to find those responsible for this week's cyberattack. "Even if the source of attack was from abroad, they will be convicted eventually,” police spokesman Dechnarong Suticharnbancha told a local news site. "It’s not a problem. Thai police are excellent."