In one of the most odious of vigilantism following the death of Thailand’s ninth Chakri king, Jirawat Pathumthong (in some reports, he is referred to as K or เค) was beaten and accused of lese majeste by a crowd of royalist thugs before being dragged off by police on 18 October 2016. He was charged with lese majeste.
Jirawat was accused of having posted comments on 17 October to a Facebook page used by antique sellers. When chided for making an apparent joke during “mourning period,” Jirawat replied with an allegedly negative reference to the monarchy.
As news of this spread, vigilantes went to his residence and hauled Jirawat out of his bedroom. Livestreaming this, the mob beat Jirawat and forced to apologize to a portrait of the dead king. Some of the crazed mob threatened his life.
Jirawat had worked for Thai Steel Cable PCL in Chonburi. It was the company’s human resources manager, Chotipat Hancharoen-asawasuk, who provided the mob with Jirawat’s home address. The company also sacked him.
Chotipat said: “I gave away the information to show we weren’t hiding anything, but they should have let the police handle it…”. He added: “They shouldn’t assault him like that. I mean, you and me, we would want to beat the crap out of him, too, right? But it’s not a right thing to do.”
On 22 November 2016, Jirawat was granted bail on a surety of 200,000 baht.
Media accounts of Jirawat’s case:
Prachatai, 24 November 2016: “Provincial court grants bail to lèse majesté suspect”
Khaosod, 18 October 2016: “Chonburi Man Beaten by Mob Over Royal Defamation“