Seventh-day Adventists Claim Religious Persecution

 | Thu 18 Jun 2015 05:14 ICT

CityNews – June 17, at Chiang Rai City Hall, around 40 members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Of Thailand, led by Duanpen Riangdee, submitted a document to Chiang Rai Governor Pongsak Wangsamer, to call on provincial authorities for help as they had no confidence in local authorities’ justice process.


The group claimed that a member of the church, Suphachok Petpairat, 32, of Ban Huai Han in Chiang Rai’s Wiang Kaen district, had been confined against his will and repeatedly hit by other villagers on June 13 because of his religious beliefs. He is now unable to live in his village.

It transpired that a woman, aged around 28 years old and living in the village, contacted Suphachok and told him to ask for help in order for her to follow the strict practice of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Of Thailand. Her family was already Seventh-day Adventists, but she wanted to step up her religious convictions by following his style of stricter practice. He suggested that she consult with her family first. When she told her family they didn’t agree with her and allegedly that resulted in her committing suicide by drinking poison. Consequently, Suphachok was blamed as the cause of her death.

As this matter is about beliefs and is sensitive, the group asked for justice for Suphachok from the Chiang Rai City Hall.

The villagers, blaming Suphacok, then confined him and beat him up. According to Suphachok, the church’s members tried to rescue him but he was surrounded by other villagers.

The members who were trying to protect Suphachok informed the police, but no action was taken to protect him. They then asked for help from the military and he was finally released after being locked up in the village until at around 10pm.

He has since removed his wife and three children out of the village to a nearby hotel. He was unable to take their clothes and belongings with them, added Suphachok.

In his village, most of the villagers still traditionally worship ancestral spirits. The woman who committed suicide, her family as well as Supachok followed the Seventh-day Adventist Church of Thailand, though Suphachok followed a much stricter doctrine.

When the woman tried to follow the strict practice of the church, other villagers joined her family in opposing her.

The authorities insisted that they will uphold justice for every party.