This is one way to not speak to the press.
Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha evaded journalists’ questions on Monday by leaving a life-sized cardboard cutout of himself and telling reporters to quiz it instead.
“If you want to ask any questions on politics or conflict, ask this guy,” Prayuth said before quickly turning his heel and walking off.
The dodging tactic came after the prime minister briefly addressed the media after attending an event at the Government House promoting the upcoming Children’s Day.
It isn't the first time Prayuth — a general who seized power in a bloodless coup in 2014 — has dumbfounded the media. In the past he has fondled the ear of a sound technician for several minutes during an impromptu news conference, flung a banana peel at cameramen, and threatened, with gruff humor, to execute any journalist who criticized his government.
When it took power, his government, packed with military leaders, enjoyed considerable public support for ending a prolonged period of often-violent street politics. But as the junta's rule has stretched on, criticism of its often-repressive policies and lack of transparency has grown markedly.
Prayuth has promised elections in November, though he has made similar promises several times previously and then delayed the balloting.
The prime minister's stunt on Monday was slammed by Human Rights Watch which said it shows the military junta chief’s “contempt of media criticism” in a country yet to restore democracy since a 2014 coup.
“Thailand’s junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha continues to show contempt of media criticism and scrutiny,” Sunai Phasuk, senior Thailand researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.