Cardboard cutout stands in for Thai prime minister

'Ask this guy' – Thailand's PM avoids media with bizarre life-sized cardboard cut-out

Thailand's prime minister gets cardboard cut-out of himself to front the press for him

Prayuth, a general who seized power of the southeast Asian country in a bloodless coup in 2014, is known for his freakish and sometimes threatening interactions with the media.

Thailand's prime minister, after his news conference, asked reporters to direct questions for him to his cardboard replica in a smart move to by-pass questions, reports BBC.

According to The Nation, one of the Children's Day traditions involves officials setting up large cutouts of Prayuth all around the Government House so children can take photos with him.

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha brought the cutout out at Government House and said reporters who had questions should "ask this guy".

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Video of the event shows Prayuth, in his military uniform, announcing his departure by waving goodbye at a microphone, while an aide carried over the life-size cutout-in a business suit-to take his place. His comments have also been menacing.

In 2015 he warned journalists that he had the power to execute them.

"[This is part] of a long list of his freaky and bullying reactions to reporters".

"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. In another separate incident, he threw a banana peel at a reporter.

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Thailand has been under military control since 2014, with Chan-o-cha taking charge during a temperamental and emotionally charged period for the Thai people, with rival political party supporters marching in the streets and the death of their much loved King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

However, it has yet to lift a ban on political campaigning despite pressure from groups of all political stripes. While the government promised to hold nationwide elections, they have repeatedly been pushed back.

Reporters as well as some parents and children who had gone to see the premier in the lead-up to Children's Day on Saturday were disappointed.

The prime minister did, however, speak to a hand-picked audience of children inside the residence, The Nation newspaper reported.

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