Further updated: 112 in Chiang Rai

15 04 2021

Mongkol Thrakhote was arrested on Wednesday during a “solo protest in front of the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court to demand the release of Ratsadon leaders…”.

A resident of Chiang Rai province and aged 27, he was arrested while “facing a lèse majesté charge in his home province…”.

He was taken to “Pahonyothin police station for questioning, before he is to be sent back to police in Chiang Rai province.” Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said “Mongkol had insisted on giving his statement to police in Pan district of Chiang Rai … adding that a lawyer from the centre there will provide the suspect with legal counsel.”

Update 1: The arrest of Mongkol is looking suspiciously like a fit-up by the police and their masters. Prachatai reports that Mongkol arrived from “Chiang Rai on 12 April to join the hunger strike while sitting in front of the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok, to demand the release of activists currently detained pending trial and denied bail.”

Court officials immediately placed “metal barriers in front of the Criminal Court sign and told him that his action might be considered contempt of court, so he went to sit just next to the sign.” Other officers demanded his personal information and questioned and asked to search him. He was “told him that a ‘higher-up’ in the Court is unhappy and would like him to go away…”.

Soon, “uniformed and plainclothes police officers from Phaholyothin Police Station, along with some officers dressed like a commando unit, arrived to question him for another hour.” This questioning continued over several hours, on-and-off, and they pressured him to leave the area.

The next day, “a large number of officers” arrived as other protesters joined Mongkol. The, at “13.20 on 14 April, Mongkhon was arrested by police officers from Phaholyothin Police Station. The officers presented an arrest warrant from Phan Police Station in Chiang Rai, which stated that he was being charged under Section 112, or the lèse majesté law, and the Computer Crimes Act.”

It seems that “that police officers from the Muang Chiang Rai Police Station went to search Mongkhon’s house” on the morning of 14 April, with a search warrant.

This sounds suspicious to us. It gives the impression that the police were in search of a charge as a way to remove Mongkol.

Update 2: Prachatai reports that Mongkol “has been granted bail after two days in detention.” A surety of 150,000 baht was required. The report adds further information on the case. Officers searched his house and confiscated several items:

pieces of paper with messages written on them, a declaration by the activist group Ratsadorn, an armband with the three-finger salute symbol, and a red ribbon, and had his mother sign documents to acknowledge the search and confiscation. It is not clear how the objects confiscated by the officers are related to the case. Mongkhon’s mobile phone was also confiscated when he was arrested in Bangkok.

According to the police, the charges “to 25 Facebook posts he made between 2 – 11 March 2021, including messages referring to the King’s images, sharing video clips and foreign news reports about the Thai monarchy, and sharing posts from Somsak Jeamteerasakul’s Facebook page while adding captions.”


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