Prachatai has two reports of three, maybe five, new lese majeste cases.
The first involves a man accused of “making false claims about the King’s property…”. He has been “sent to a psychiatric hospital after three months of pre-charge detention.”
The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights report that on 20 August 2015, “Sao (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), a suspect under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, [was sent]… to Galya Rajanagarindra Institute in Bangkok…”. No case file on the suspect has been sent to prosecutors “because the suspect seems to be suffering from mental illness and needs to be treated at the psychiatric hospital…”.
Sao, from the a Thai Lue ethnic group and from Chiang Rai, is said to be “accused by the Criminal Division for Political Office Holders of the Supreme Court of making false claims about the monarchy’s property.” On 13 March 2015, he is said to have submitted a “complaint which stated that … Thaksin Shinawatra, misallocated the property of the King. He claimed that he was in charge of managing 7 billion baht (196 million USD).”
Sao was summoned “to hear the accusation in late May and held him in custody at the Remand Prison from 28 May to 19 August 2015.”
He is reported to have a history of mental illness. Prachatai states: “In the past, there have been many lèse majesté suspects with records of mental illness. However, this is the first time that the authorities have sent a lèse majesté suspect who is reportedly suffering from mental illness to a psychiatric hospital before the indictment.”
The second case involves two men who appear better charged under fraud laws rather than lese majeste, but this is royalist Thailand….
The police arrested the two, accusing them of “making false claims about the monarchy for financial gain.” (Plenty of staunch royalists do the same, albeit in more sophisticated ways.)
Khaosod reports that Kittiphop Sitthirat, 23, and Wiset Phutthasa, 30, made “false claims about the monarchy, falsifying public documents, fraud, and impersonating officers from the Bureau of the Royal Household.” The Kamphaeng Phet provincial court issued arrest warrants on or around 20 August 2015.
The two suspects are said to have cooperated with two others “to claim that they belonged to the … aristocracy [and were] related to the Royal family with the rank of Mom Luang (M.L.) and were working for the Bureau of the Royal Household.” Kittiphop and Wiset are alleged to have “claimed to the head of the Pa Sai Ngam Buddhist Monastery of Kamphaeng Phet Province [and] that they could invite members of the Royal family to participate in religious events at the temple, but needed 100,000 baht for expenses.”
Alleged accomplice Atsadaphon Sitthirat, 45, “who had already been arrested before the two, presented fake letters and documents from the secretariat of the Bureau of the Royal Household to support the false claims of the two lèse majesté suspects. Another accomplice to the alleged crime, however, is still at large.”
Police imply that the local elite is hopping mad because the alleged fraudsters were “claiming that they were collecting funds to build a monastery in order to trick high-ranking public servants and many others to donate money to them. The suspects reportedly collected about a million baht from this.”
Both Kittiphop and Wiset denied all charges.