Looking at 112

4 02 2021

In a quite useful article on lese majeste, Bloombergdiscusses the multiplication of lese majeste cases in recent months.

Academic Tyrell Haberkorn is quoted:

If the authorities ran through Twitter and Facebook, they could find thousands of people who could be charged…. Part of why the government hasn’t arrested all of the youth protesters is that someone somewhere in the state apparatus realizes that that will bring a really loud outcry.

Political activist Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, facing several charges is also quoted:

For 40 years of my life, I’ve never been charged — I’ve never been prosecuted, not even one case…. But since I started politics, there are countless cases against me…. It’s because we challenge the status quo, we challenge the establishment.

The only quibble we have with the article is its statistics:

We checked the historical data. The data we have indicate prosecutions rising from an average of about 4 per year before the 2006 coup to about 105 cases per year under the Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s military dictatorship in 2014-16, before reducing in 2017-18:

  • 1984-2000: 67 lese majeste prosecutions resulting in 56 convictions (83.6%), with an average of 4.19 cases prosecuted per year.
  • 2001-2005: 14 cases prosecuted and 13 convictions (85.7%), and an average of 2.8 cases prosecuted per year.
  • Between the 2006 coup and 2013: 295 cases prosecuted, with an average of 36.9 cases prosecuted per year.
  • 2014-2016, 316 cases were prosecuted, with an average of 105.3 cases prosecuted per year.

The data in Bloomberg’s graph looks roughly right after that. No point in underplaying the sharp increase under the military junta. After all, the purpose then was roughly the same as it is now: political repression.



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