17:55 GMT28 July 2021
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    Rather than deal with questions from reporters on Monday, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha deployed a life-size cardboard cutout of himself for journalists to bombard.

    Appearing at a press conference outside the Government House in Bangkok, the 63-year-old reportedly appeared as if he was going to field questions from the gaggle of reporters — until things got weird.

    "If anyone wants to ask any questions on politics or conflicts, ask this guy," the prime minister told media members as he pointed to the black-suited cardboard version of himself.

    Though some attendants at the pressers did laugh off the odd-ball incident, some even taking photos with the cutout, not everyone thought the move was funny.

    Enter Human Rights Watch.

    "Thailand's junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha continues to show contempt of media criticism and scrutiny," Sunai Phasuk, senior Thailand researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters. "[This is part] of a long list of his bizarre and bullying reactions to reporters."

    ABC Australia reported that Chan-ocha previously threw a banana peel at cameramen, "fondled the ear of a sound technician" during a press conference and even threatened journalists that he had the power to execute them if they criticized his government.

    When Chan-ocha took control in 2014, CBS News reported that his government enjoyed public support for ending politically motivated violence, but that support later ended after residents took notice of the government's repressive policies.

    Though the official promised elections in November 2018, critics aren't holding their breath, since Chan-ocha has a history of making similar statements and never delivering on them.


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