PHUKET – Australian National Mark Robert Coutelas is one of the first foreigners to be caught in the heavy net of Thailand’s martial law that could see civilians prosecuted in military courts.
Mark Robert Coutelas, 53, was arrested at an apartment on the resort island of Phuket allegedly in possession of a hand gun, ammunition and a small amount of crystal methamphetamine, Phuketwan news website reported.
The military junta that seized power last Thursday has sweeping powers under which soldiers will decide whether accused offenders are dealt with swiftly in special military courts or still-functioning civilian courts.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is aware of the arrest of an Australian tourist in Phuket.
Coutelas’s Facebook page displays various pictures of the Australian in Thailand.
Two images uploaded in February show Coutelas in what appears to be a Thai prison, one of which is captioned “6 days in hell”.
Another picture shows a naked woman holding a handgun, on which Coutelas comments: “What is not to like about a Glock 17!”
Thailand has been under military rule since the government was thrown from power in a coup last week.
The coup means Coutelas could be dealt with by a military court and denied access to a lawyer.
A DFAT spokeswoman says the Australian Government stands ready to provide consular assistance.