Monta Yokrattanakan

Monta“Ying Kai” or Montra Yokrattanakan (“Monta” in some reports) entered a guilty plea to lese majeste charges on 6 June 2017 and was promptly sentenced to 15 years in jail, halved for the guilty plea.

First reported as a “socialite,” it was reported in June 2016 that she was being investigated for having engaged in fraud, human trafficking. Then lese majeste was added.

On 21 June 2016, a former employee, accompanied by her parents and lawyer Songkan Atchariyasap, chairman of the Network Against Acts that Destroy Kingdom, Religion and Monarchy, submitted a petition “seeking justice.”

Her former employer, Montra, who claimed to be a khunying and wife of a police lieutenant-colonel, was accused of filing a false theft complaint with Pracha Chuen police, accusing the young employee of stealing, including 40 gold bars, a gold ornament and a diamond necklace worth more than 10 million baht on 18 March 2015.

The involvement of the ultra-royalist lawyer suggested that the lese majeste charge was being aggressively pursued. The Criminal Court ordered Montra imprisoned for 12 days as she awaited trial on charges including, most notably, lese majeste.

Police investigators had requested that she be held in remand, citing a fear that she may interfere with evidence if freed on bail. Montra posted a bail request, but the court ruled against Monta and ordered her to be jailed. She was taken directly to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.

On the lese majeste charges, precious few details were initially provided, with police saying saying that Monta made false claims that she has a royal bloodline, and that she was also bestowed a royal title. The officer in charge stated: “She falsely claimed ties to the High Institution [the monarchy]…. Please don’t go into details about this case. It’s a sensitive matter.” Palace involvement in the case? The charge seems to be related to the use of khunying.

Initially, Montra has denied all charges and allegations.

On 16 July 2016 the court ordered her held for a further 12 days. During that period, police agreed to charge her with human smuggling. She appeared in court on 29 September 2016 and entered a not guilty plea. She was remanded without bail. Apparently, two days earlier, she was arraigned for lese majeste.

She was alleged to have told others that she was a khunying, a title bestowed by the king on royal favorites and flunkies. Often the titles go to the flunkies and favorites of other members of the royal family.

Montra was also alleged to have told others that she was close to the monarchy. It is unclear who she claimed to be associated with. These alleged claims are said to be false claims and were used to seek favors and benefits as those who are close to the royals tend to do.

The Criminal Court announced on 21 November 2016 that Ying Kai’s trial on lese majeste charges would begin on 6 June 2017. In an odd appearance in court, she asked to change her plea to guilty, saying she wanted to get the case finished. The court decided that a confession would not end the hearing of witnesses and evidence, and so Ying Kai reverted to her denial of the charge. She also asked that the court be cleared of reporters.

She faces other charges of making false complaints against people, human trafficking and defamation and is due in court on 2 May 2017. PPT does not know what the result of those charges has been.

On 6 June 2017, she was back in court and this time her guilty plea was accepted. We have no idea what happened in the intervening period during which she was held in prison. Negotiations perhaps? She was sentenced to 15 years on lese majeste.

We have no particular sympathy for Ying Kai, but we feel that someone sought to punish her severely, dragging out the case. After all, other “royal fraud” cases have been completed very quickly, especially those associated with Prince Vajiralongkorn.

Media accounts of Monta’s case:

Bangkok Post, 6 June 2017: “Ying Kai gets 7½ years for lese majeste

Bangkok Post, 21 November 2016: “‘Ying Kai’ lese majeste trial to begin June 6

Bangkok Post, 18 November 2016: “Half-sister of ‘Ying Kai’ jailed for 50 years

Bangkok Post, 29 September 2016: “Ying Kai pleads not guilty to lese majeste charge

Thai Visa, 21 July 2016: “Finally Ying Kai is to be charged with human trafficking

Thai Visa, 19 July 2016: “Thai press drop Lady Kai tag – now referring to her as plain old Mrs. Chicken

Thai Visa, 16 July 2016: “Suspected fraudster and liar Lady Kai has been ordered held for twelve more days as investigators

Thai Visa, 15 July 2016: “Lady Kai latest: Seems she could predict lottery numbers and tricked dying woman over land deal

Thai Visa, 14 July 2016: “Lady Kai Case – at least 16 policemen guilty of not following procedures

Thai Visa, 14 July 2016: “Was heiress murdered? Is driver still alive? Lady Kai case gets murkier

Thai Visa, 12 July 2016: “Lady Kai and the local cops – all will be revealed this week

Thai Visa, 9 July 2016 “Lady Kai ‘away with the fairies’, claims top cop

Thai Visa, 8 July 2016: “Lady Kai woke up behind bars this morning – bail denied for alleged hi-so con artist

Khaosod, 7 July 2016: “Socialite Accused of Flaunting Royal Title Goes to Jail

Thai Visa 7 July 2016: “Lady Kai goes to temple – if I did wrong may I be struck down!

Thai Visa, 5 July 2016: “Lady Kai latest – lawyer receives phone threats

Thai Visa, 4 July 2016: “Former policeman called in as Lady Kai case gets murkier still

Bangkok Post, 1 July 2016: “CSD probes woman who says maids robbed her

Bangkok Post, 1 July 2016: “Ying Kai unveils identity and vows to fight

Thai Visa, 30 June 2016: “Heat is on for Lady Kai in Rich vs Poor theft case

Thai Visa, 29 June 2016: “Thais can’t get enough of Lady Kai vs Student Koy theft case