On Sunday, Marvel’s Black Panther was killed by a powerful man deemed a villain of Thai society at the Bangkok Comic Con x Thailand Comic Con 2018. Well … kinda.
Longtime cosplay fan Oatchariya Thintabut, 25, typically attends Comic Con-style evens as a character from his favorite anime series: Naruto. But amid the furore surrounding the alleged killing of an endangered black panther by Italian-Thai Development CEO Premchai Karnasuta in February, he felt this year was the right time to send a message.
Equipped with a small picnic chair, Oatchariya recreated the infamous image of the 64-year-old construction tycoon when he — and four others — were busted by park officials with carcasses of protected species in their camp, situated inside a protected area of a national park.
“People are forgetting about the case. I don’t want them to forget,” Oatchariya told Coconuts.
Oatchariya said he ran into a man dressed as the Marvel character Black Panther at the event, who happily lay in front of him to complete the visual of the controversial case. Their display was repeatedly photographed and has gone viral over the weekend.
“When the Black Panther saw me, he immediately rushed over to lie in front of me. That drew attention from the people,” he said.
This is technically not the first time Oatchariya dressed as Premchai in a bid to seek justice for the slain animal. He said he has marched through hip Bangkok neighborhoods while carrying a fake black panther’s head.
It’s been three months now since Premchai was arrested. The business tycoon has denied all nine charges related to poaching and told reporters that he did not kill the panther, adding “the truth will come out in court.”
The case has prompted concerns that Premchai will join the long list of Thailand’s rich and powerful, who have escaped justice with a slap on the wrist.
In past months, Thai social media users have rallied for the slain panther with a hashtag that translates to English as “Black panther, you must not die in vain,” while Thai artists created controversial art in response to the case.
Headache Stencil, a group of graffiti artist, said a black panther drawing they created mysterious disappeared from the street, prompting anger from social media that an attempt to seek justice had, once again, been silenced.