Chainarin Nopchaloemroj

112Chainarin Nopchaloemroj was convicted of lese majeste and sentenced to 5 years in jail by a military court on 19 March 2015. His sentence was halved because he pleaded guilty.

He and 13 others were initially arrested and had lese majeste cases lodged against them. Chainarin was reportedly arrested on 17 November 2014 after a military raid.

It may be that these allegations are somehow related to a massive royal housecleaning as the prince prepares to rule, not least because it occurred at about the same time as the other princely purges.

We speculate in this way because the latest case involves Chainarin who is the Secretary-General of the Office of the Under Royal Graciousness, and stands accused of embezzling funds through a false royal project.The Office is an umbrella organization founded by M.L. Somlab Kritiyakorn and other members of the Kritiyakorn family in 2011. It was established to give support and implement royal initiatives. The Kritiyakorns are the queen’s family. If readers go the the Office’s website, they’ll find that not a single name is listed under the committees of the Office, suggesting a cleansing.

Chainarin was arrested after Somlab, a former Secretary-General of the Office of the Under Royal Graciousness, filed a lese majeste complaint against him.

The story is a little unclear on details, yet it appears that other complainants were Peuk Lerdswangpong, the head of the Rubber Holder Co-Operatives Federation of Thailand, two other individuals, and a prosecutor. It is reported that 13 other associates of Chainarin are included in the complaint. Chainarin and 13 other associates are accused of promoting a false royal project for personal economic gain.

Chainarin is accused of asking nearly a hundred high ranking officials, military bosses and businessmen to participate in a program called “Pillar of the Kingdom,” where participants were charged up to 100,000 baht (about $3,050) to join. The program was organized in May 2014. Some of those involved were Jeerasak Sukontachat, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Labor, General Worapong Sanganetra, the deputy commander of the Thai Army, and Charun Inthachan, the president of the Constitutional Court. Each of these royalists was led to believe that the program was a part of the royal initiative and they felt driven to be a part, paying the large sum in order to be seen to be obedient royal flunkies.

While Chainarin was convicted it remains unclear what has happened to the other 13. PPT has maintained a “Pending Cases” page for the other 13.

Media accounts  of Chainarin’s case:

Prachatai, 19 March 2015: “Man sentenced to 2.5 years in jail for claiming monarchy in scam

Prachatai, 14 December 2014: “Man accused of lese majeste after claiming monarchy for scam