Updated: Chulabhorn lese majeste

2 06 2021

A property appraiser is facing prosecution for alleged lese majeste and computer crimes associated with comments reportedly targeting Princess Chulabhorn’s recent political and business intervention over vaccination.

As is becoming usual, it was Seksakol Atthawong and Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s lawyer Apiwat Khanthong who “filed a formal complaint with Nang Loeng police in Bangkok against Sophon Pornchokchai…”, a man working in real estate.

They allege that “Sophon violated the lèse-majesté law and uploaded false information into the computer system.” Seksakol claimed Sophon “posted a message on social media that offended the ‘institution’ [he means monarchy]…”, even if the post had since been removed. Because the “post attracted public attention,” the rabid and official royalist protectors declared “[l]egal action was in order…”.

Apparently no names were mentioned in the post, but Seksakol declared “[p]eople who read the message understood straight away what it meant…”. He added that a “part of the message also defamed the government…”.

We are not quite sure why, but Seksakol lied that “he and Mr Apiwat, as ordinary citizens, asked the police to press charges against Mr Sophon.”

Seksakol urged vigilante action across the country, saying “[a]nyone who comes across statements or messages that violate lèse-majesté can lodge a complaint with police…”.

Sophon denied the accusation, “saying he and his family have always been loyal to the monarchy.” He said his post “about a vaccine issue and the Chulabhorn Royal Academy should not be misinterpreted because he has never had bad thoughts about the monarchy…”.

As a footnote, it is of some interest that the Bangkok Post recently reported that the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society took “legal action against architect Duangrit Bunnag and Accap Assets Co, a real estate company, for allegedly fabricating documents about the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine and spreading fake news about it. It says the claims discredit the government.” What’s happening in real estate and why their flap over Chulabhorn’s intervention?

Update: Of course, we should have observed that the lese majeste law does not apply to Chulabhorn. But as others have been investigated and charged with lese majeste for all kinds of offenses not covered by the 112 law, perhaps this is no surprise.


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