'Ask this guy' - Thailand's PM avoids media with weird life-sized cardboard cut-out

A life-sized cardboard cut-out figure of Thailand PM Prayuth Chan-ocha stands next to the microphone after he left the

AP A life-sized cardboard cut-out figure of Thailand PM Prayuth Chan-ocha stands next to the microphone after he left the scene in Bangkok

Prayuth then turned on his heel and walked off, leaving the cardboard mock-up behind, to bemused looks and awkward laughter from the Government House press pack.

Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, has come up with an innovative new strategy for ducking questions from the press.

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Prayuth briefly spoke with reporters after he attended an event to promote Children's Day, but evaded all further questions about political matters by bringing out his life-sized cardboard lookalike and propping it up behind the microphone. "We are politics. Everyone is involved in politics", said Prayuth, before inserting in his cardboard clone and making his unusual departure. People were later seen posing for photographs with the image.

Last year, the prime minister lifted a ban on political activity that had been in place since the bloodless coup in 2014, and announced that elections will be held in November 2018. In 2014, he infamously threatened to "smack" a reporter with a "podium" after getting annoyed at a question.

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His latest move has a bluntness that Donald Trump, who must contend with reporters on more regular basis as part of his job in the United States, could only dream of. These have ranged from the comical (throwing a banana peel at a reporter) to the more serious (threatening to execute journalists critical of his policies).

Seventeen life-sized cutouts of Mr Prayuth in various outfits have been set up around the compound ahead of the annual Children's Day on Saturday. He told the young people that they "should not detest politics". "There are some good politicians but we have to create a new generation of politicians".

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The prime minister did, however, speak to a hand-picked audience of children inside the residence, The Nation newspaper reported.

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