Publicity images feature Thai PM riding big bike without a helmet

Not-so-easy rider: Road safety campaigners were quick to point out the dangers of riding a motorbike without a helmet.

Another own goal for junta chief Prayuth after publicity images were release featuring the Thai PM illegally riding a big bike with no crash helmet.

Life-size cardboard cutouts of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha were among the highlights at Government House yesterday as kids celebrated National Children’s Day.

However, the ones showing him riding a big motorbike were removed after being criticised for setting the bad example to children of riding without a helmet.

The controversial act depicted in the offending cutouts was from a photograph taken during the PM’s trip to Sukhothai province where he tried an electric motorcycle produced by vocational students in the province.

The full collection consists of 18 cardboard cutouts depicting the prime minister in 10 different acts.

Director of the Government Spokesman Bureau Natthriya Thaweevong, whose organisation was responsible for the creation of the cutouts, said the various acts depicted were chosen from various photographs in order to depict the PM in a “natural light”.

This is not the first time that cutouts of Gen Prayut were used for displays during events. However, Ms Natthriya stated that the new dummy depicting the PM riding a motorcycle was made especially for the this year’s Childrens’s Day.

Nikorn Chamnong, a campaigner for road safety yesterday wrote on Facebook thanking the organisers for withdrawing them from use.

He earlier emphasised that more than 15,000 Thais died in road accidents while not wearing helmets last year.

Many children and parents attending yesterday’s event at the venue were seen rushing to strike a pose with the cardboard PMs.

Twelve-year-old Raksanalee Tareerak, one of many children visiting Government House for the event, said the cutout enabled children who are unable to take photos with the actual prime minister to have one taken with a lookalike cutout as a keepsake.

She also admitted that she was a big fan of the PM and some of the schemes introduced under his regime.

“I like many of his policies, especially the Pracharat welfare card which helps my family a lot,” she said.

However, some youngsters, such as Kantitat Chandarasiri, 17, were not interested in taking photos with either the PM or his dummies.

“If I were to take a photo with the PM’s dummy, it would be because I think it’s funny,” he said.

He also agreed that the dummy depicting the PM riding the bike without a helmet might set bad example for children and that the person who chose that picture should have thought it through more carefully.

On Monday, another life-size cardboard cutout of the Prime Minister also made headlines after General Prayut pulled a unique way to dodge questions from journalists using the cutout.

During an event promoting National Children’s Day on Monday, Gen Prayut evaded reporters by telling them to direct their questions to his lookalike

“If you want to ask any questions about politics or conflicts, ask this guy,” the PM said before waving his hand and walking off, leaving the journalists dumbfounded. – The Bangkok Post

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