Thai prime minister plays friend with media by patting reporter on head and tugging his ear

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Thailand's military-installed prime minister, known for scolding journalists, is trying a new tack: patting their heads and tugging their ears.

Video posted on Facebook by Bangkok Post reporter Wassana Nanuam shows Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha chatting Wednesday with reporters in the northeastern city of Khon Kaen. Some journalists kneel in front of him — to allow cameras a clear view — with microphones thrust toward him.

Prayuth pats the baseball cap-clad head of the journalist directly in front of him, then nonchalantly tugs and twists the man's ear as he takes questions.

Deputy Government Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd says the gesture is good-natured teasing of the reporters with whom he has become familiar.

He says: "It's not weird for him to be playful with them."

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