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'We use the poor people' - Thailand's PM falls victim to Twitter hacker

The anonymous hacker posted a series of apparently damning messages from Yingluck Shinawatra’s official account.

Yingluck Shinawatra talks to reporters
Yingluck Shinawatra talks to reporters
Image: Apichart Weerawong/AP/Press Association Images

A MOCKING HACKER took over the Twitter account of Thailand’s recently elected prime minister on Sunday, questioning her ability to defend the country if she cannot even secure her own tweets.

The unknown hacker ended a series of at least eight postings on the account of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra with a taunt: “If she can’t even protect her own Twitter account, how can she protect the country? Think about it.”

Most of the messages accused Yingluck’s government of incompetence and cronyism. Her Pheu Thai Party won a landslide election victory in July, but critics charge she is just a puppet of her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption, setting off bitter and sometimes violent conflicts between his opponents and supporters.

“This country is a business. We work for our allies, not for the Thai people. We work for those who support us, not those who differ with us,” said one tweet.

Another said: “Where are the opportunities for the poor? We use them, give them hope for votes so our own group can benefit.”

Thaksin became popular among Thailand’s rural and urban poor for his populist policies, including subsidised housing and virtually free health care. Yingluck has proposed similar policies, though critics charge the country cannot afford them.

Government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng confirmed that Yingluck’s account – @PouYingluck – had been hacked.

“We have been informed by the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Ministry, and they are looking into who’s responsible for it. We don’t know who did it,” Thitima told the Associated Press.

In an apparently unrelated incident, unknown hackers last week defaced the website of the Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry.

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