Hacker group Anonymous declared war on ISIS in wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Now, the organization has declared war on a different group: the Thai police.
The cyber activist group vowed to take down multiple Thai police websites in protest of the conviction of two Burmese men accused of killing two British backpackers on the Koh Tao island. Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and the murder of David Miller, 24, last September.
On Wednesday, seven websites related to the Thai police had been taken with two links displaying a black screen with “Failed Law. We want Justice. #BoycottThailand” written in white font. The links also displayed Anonymous’s signature Guy Fawkes mask.
The long and tedious trial took place on the island of Koh Samui. Human rights groups gravitated towards the case, arguing that migrants had been falsely accused of crimes in Thailand in the past. Both Zaw and Wai confessed to the murder, but later retracted their statements on the grounds that they had been tortured by police to admit to the crime. In addition, the police have been accused of tapering with DNA evidence.
In a video posted on YouTube, Anonymous claimed 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, that may deter tourists from choosing Thailand as their holiday destination”.
The video references previous murder cases when Thai police accused foreigners for crimes they were eventually proven not to have committed.
“Anonymous has found that Thai police, lie, fabricate evidence, do poor police investigating, contaminate crime scenes, lose DNA and evidence, accuse non-Thai nationals” and “refuse to believe that their own Thai locals are responsible for any wrongdoing,” the Anonymous spokesman said in the video.
“We do not like the facts in this recent Koh Tao case and we do not believe the Thai court has convicted the actual murderers,” the figure said in a disguised voice.
The group encouraged foreigners to stay away from the Southeast Asian nation until “Thai police make many changes in the way they handle rape and murder cases involving foreigners or migrants and show more respect to deceased victims.”
Police spokesman Dechnarong Suticharnbancha told sources that the police were currently trying to track down the hackers. “Even if the source of attack was from abroad, they will be convicted eventually,” he said. “It’s not a problem. Thai police are excellent.”
This isn’t the first time the international cyber activists have taken down major websites. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, Anonymous claimed to have taken down 5,500 social media accounts linked to ISIS. Although it is difficult to verify the 5,500 figure, estimates provided by Breitbart Tech suggest the number is likely in the thousands.
Furthermore, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, a sister group of Anonymous in Belgium said it was “declaring war against al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorists.” The group claims to have taken down a major French website teeming with extremists and removed 1,500 ISIS supporters on Facebook and Twitter.
Anonymous first took the internet by storm in 2003. The group became popular for releasing a string of videos denouncing various corporations, bodies of government and religious institutions. The group has been ridiculed in various social media spheres, especially since their symbols were co-opted by radical progressives.
Despite harsh criticisms, there’s no doubt about it — Anonymous is a force that the world, let alone the Thai police, must reckon with.