112 charge for Facebook post

4 12 2021

Via Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, Prachatai reports that Warunee (family name withheld), aged 30 and from Phitsanulok was arrested on 2 December 2021 for lese majeste.

Warunee’s charge stems from a Facebook post that included “a picture of King Vajiralongkorn changing the seasonal decoration of the Emerald Buddha, edited so that the Buddha is wearing a dress.” The accused is alleged to have posted an edited photo that had “the Buddha is wearing a purple ball gown with a Yorkshire terrier sitting next to the base of the Buddha, along with the message ‘Emerald Buddha x Sirivannavari Bangkok’.”

The photos in this post are not the photo referred to but illustrate the point being made in the accusation of lese majeste.

King Vajiralongkorn had briefly returned from Europe for this ceremony.

TLHR said that Warunee was arrested at her Phitsanulok home at about 7AM “on an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court and taken to the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) headquarters in Bangkok.” She had not received a police summons before she was arrested.

As is becoming the norm, the “complaint against her was then filed by Nopadol Prompasit, a member of the Thailand Help Centre for Cyberbullying Victims, an online royalist group…”.

From Wikipedia

Nopadol complained “that the edited image insulted and made fun of the King, and that the post was rude and inappropriate and could affect national security, as well as insulting the religion.” He has managed the trifecta of royalist “national identity.”

Warunee was charged under Article 112, Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act, and “insulting an object of religious worship under Section 206 of the Criminal Code.”

Warunee has denied all charges and “asked the inquiry officer to summon Nopadol to explain his accusations and to point out which component of the image was offensive.”

The police confiscated her phone and laptop. She was detained overnight at the Thung Song Hong Police Station before being taken to court on 3 December. Her lawyer “requested bail for Warunee on the grounds that she has bipolar disorder and needs to receive continuous treatment. She was later granted bail using a 100,000-baht security.”





A royalist ode

21 11 2021

According to Royal World Thailand, King Vajiralongkorn, his queen and his favorite consort have been briefly back in Thailand before returning to Switzerland and Germany. In Thailand:

… King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida of Thailand, with … Princess Bajrakitiyabha, … Princess Rajsarini Siribajra​ and Princess Sirivannavari, along with the Royal Noble Consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani presided over the ceremony of changing the seasonal attire for the Emerald Buddha into winter attire. The tradition of changing the robes seasonally; Rainy, Winter, and Summer, held at the Temple of Emerald Buddha….

There is quite a lot to think about in this event. First, why did he and his huge entourage decamp to Europe just a little more than a week ago, to return for just day? Was he trying to be out of the country when the Constitutional Court was promoting absolutism? Or is he just being his usual erratic and dull self? Second, why is the royal family unmasked, especially when they have been in Germany, where the virus is raging. Third, who pays for these expensive jaunts to and from Europe? Finally, why do royalists continue to turn out and support a king who has made it clear he’d rather not be in Thailand? The latter question sent us to poets, with apologies to Thomas Ford:

There is a king erratic and (un)kind,

Was never a face so pleased my mind;

I did but see him passing by. And yet I’ll love him till I die. His gesture, motion, and his grimaces,

His lack of wit, but his voice my heart beguiles,

Beguiles my heart, I know not why,

Yet, I will love him till I die.





Updated: Rung jailed

16 11 2021

As we posted recently, the Constitutional Court’s absurd ruling made it clear where Thailand is heading: down the royalist rathole.

And so it begins….

The Bangkok Post reports that the “Criminal Court on Monday denied bail for Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul on a lese majeste case involving her crop top outfit.” She had, with others, shown up on 20 December 2020, in front of the royally-connected Siam Paragon shopping center, in front of the Sirivannavari shop, owned by the king’s second daughter. In crop tops, the protesters held signs attacking the lese majeste law.

Not Rung, but the fellow in Germany

The result was a lese majeste charge, apparently for the crop top.

The court immediately denied bail, saying Rung “had repeatedly committed similar offences since she and four others were indicted by public prosecutors on June 29.” It claimed she had “violated the conditions set by the court in other cases…”.

She was sent to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution for detention.

We expect further efforts to lock up protesters.

Update: Prachatai has a detailed report on Rung’s case.





Pushing back against absolutism I

14 11 2021

Student councils across the country have rejected the Constitutional Court’s ruling that pro-democracy leaders aimed to overthrow the system of government. Their joint statement said:

The 23 student organisations disagree with the court’s ruling. We insist that the 10-point manifesto for reforms of Thailand’s monarchy will help the monarchy remain in Thailand graciously under the democratic regime. Proposals for the reform of the royal institution [monarchy] will also help free it from criticism that would otherwise tarnish it.

Contrary to the kangaroo court’s statements, the students insisted that “protesters were exercising their right to freedom of expression and demonstration, which is protected by the Constitution.”

Pointedly, the statement observed: “The protesters never had any intention of overthrowing the government like the coups d’etat in the past…”.

A Bangkok Post editorial observed that the Constitutional Court’s decisions are politicized:

It’s undeniable that such a verdict, which has intensified sentiments against the court, has raised fears about what comes next as both royalists and factions in the opposite political spectrum roll up their sleeves as divisiveness grows.

Interestingly, that editorial turns on Article 112 and challenges royalist interpretations and cheering about the court’s ultra-royalist decision:

The court verdict should by all means not derail a motion to amend Section 112 or lese majeste before parliament that is being pushed by the Move Forward Party.

The highlight of the party’s proposal is the removal of the infamous law from the chapter of national security to a new chapter on the King’s honour, which if effective, will see the penalties significantly reduced.

The court verdict, stringent as it is, should not hamper the right to freedom of expression, as mentioned in the constitution.

As change is unavoidable, it’s necessary all involved parties realise the need for mechanisms that allow healthy and constructive debates over the amendment of Section 112 and also reform of the monarchy.

Like it or not, all, including the royalists, must realise the lese majeste law in its original form, not bare-handed activists, is a threat to the revered [sic] institution.

Of course, royalists, the current palace (albeit mostly based in Germany), and the military-backed regime all know that their political dominance demands political repression based on monarchy.

Actions demanding political and monarchy reform are indeed likely to continue. As ever, these activists test the waters of repression before plunging in.

Immediately after the court’s ridiculous decision, someone hacked that court’s website, labeling it a kangaroo court. The site was quickly taken down, and the last time we looked, was still offline. Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn “said that the Court outsourced its website maintenance to a private company, which may not have set up adequate security measures, allowing outsiders to obtain the site username and password.” He added that “the authorities know who is behind the incident…”. Another account by the minister was less sure: “We believe the hacking was done to discredit the court and had been planned in advance…. The investigators are checking on the IP addresses of those who logged into the system during that period.” They soon arrested a man in Ubol who they alleged was responsible.

Immediately after the court’s decision, small rallies and actions began.

Protesters gathered in front of the Criminal Court under the name “Ratsadon” on Friday to “push their demands for reform of Thailand’s monarchy” and to demand the release of protesters held in custody without bail. They “read a statement in English, in an attempt to communicate with the international community. It highlighted their desire to reform the royal institution’s budget allocation, to allow criticism of the monarchy and to reform the country’s controversial lèse majesté legislation.”

Meanwhile, on “11 November, 4 people were arrested for attaching a ‘Reform does not equal overthrow’ sign and a ‘Repeal 112’ sign to the shop door of Sirivannavari Siam Paragon.” This is a pointed linking of royal wealth and privilege to the Constitutional Court’s absurd ruling and a rejection of the base use of taxpayer funds for subsidies to royal businesses.

Another rally begins shortly in central Bangkok.





Juvenile 112 indictment

31 10 2021

It is reported that public prosecutors have decided to indict Noppasin Treelayapewat, a 16 year-old, with lese majeste for participating in a “fashion show” that poked fun at royals “during a pro-democracy protest on Silom Road on 29 October 2020.”

The so-called Ratsadorn Catwalk fashion show “took place after it was reported that the Ministry of Commerce received a 13-million baht budget for the overseas exhibition of new products by Sirivannavari brand, a fashion label owned by the King’s younger daughter, Princess Sirivannavari.” It also coincided with the launch of Sirivannavari’s newest collection, “held at the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel.”

Sirivannavari has been hoovering up taxpayer funds for her pet projects for years.

Noppasin. Clipped from Prachatai

The rally saw no speeches, but “protesters participated in the fashion show, performed, and exhibit artwork to support monarchy reform.”

Noppasin is “alleged to have mocked the King by wearing a black crop top with the message ‘My father’s name is Mana, not Vajiralongkorn’ written on his back.” That led to a 112 “complaint was filed against him by Waritsanun Sribawornthanakit.”

That royalist “also filed a complaint against Jatuporn Sae-Ung, 23, for participating in the same protest,” claiming that Jatuporn “ridiculed the Queen by wearing a pink Thai traditional dress to the fashion show and walking along a red carpet under an umbrella held by another protester.”

Jatuporn was already indicted on 15 July 2021, charged under Article 112. She is on bail, with the court setting “conditions that she must not repeat her offences, participate in activities that damage the monarchy, or leave the country.”





Updated: Horsing around

20 09 2021

We recently posted on the declining royal Princess Sirivannavari. Known for being remarkably tone deaf on social issues, even if she’s unpopular, it doesn’t stop her from living a globetrotting life of luxury.

According to a Facebook post by Pavin Chachavalpongpun, while Thais are still facing restrictions due to the virus, Sirivannavari is off traveling the world, staying in 5-star hotels, and spending taxpayer money.

We stress that there is no independent confirmation of Sirivannavari’s touring, but have to admit that Pavin’s short details fit her modus operandi. Pavin states: “Amid the covid epidemic Sirivannavari still squanders tax on people who travel as if playing. Now in Denmark, she’s there to buy a horse.”

Clipped from Thailand Tatler

He says she’s stayed at the D’Angleterre Hotel. We looked at the hotel’s website and we guess her room’s costing about 17,000 baht a night. We don’t know how many hangers-on she’s got, which would inflate the cost of hotel substantially. It is also said she’s renting four limousines. Then there’s meals and other local expenses as well as the cost of flights.

The horses she’s interested in is apparently from a stable that handles horses for the Danish royals. We can’t even guess how much that will cost the ever-suffering taxpayer.

Sirivannavari’s travel, while most Thais are stuck, would seem poor PR, but not for the thick-headed princess. It is one of her traits that she flaunts her (dad’s) great wealth. We guess that she’s gotten bored with Thailand, and has decamped to her mansion in Paris and is again living like a princess of yore.As she’s previously gushed, “Greece and the South of France are at the top of my favourite destinations list…. And I love Paris, so I visit all three quite often.” And she screws the plebs.

Update: A reader asks if the king is in Europe as well. We have no idea, but can confirm he hasn’t appeared in the royal news for a very long time. His last engagement promoted by the Royal Office was on 26 July.





Declining royal I

9 09 2021

Royal World Thailand – รอยัล เวิลด์ ประเทศไทย has recently posted on Princess Sirivannavari and her declining popularity. It is worth reproducing in full, in English, which has some issues. The Thai version is available at the Facebook page linked above. The basic point is that the self-promoting royal is unpopular and  efforts to promote her are doomed:

From Wikipedia

… Princess Sirivannavari of Thailand joined a virtual conversation with Thai designers a couple of weeks ago on Vogue Thailand Channel. The conversation was about fashion industry amid the serious COVID-19 pandemic situation which has caused obstacles to many.

“We all are having difficult time. I am also having a difficult time. But I very much believe that everyone has to get prosperity and be with it. Keep moving on and fill an energy to everyone. I believe that things are going to be better. We can be sad but not too long.” For the Princess’ ‘difficult time’ has become viral on the internet. Netizens use her quote for sarcastically expressing towards each other. She herself was also criticised by many about her own discourse.

Besides the King and Queen who are facing the decreasing popularity, Princess Sirivannavari is considered the least rated member in the royal family, due to her unforgettable incident during the new year trip a couple of years ago. Her security protocol caused chaotic atmosphere towards to public who were also having a trip, brought to huge criticism directly to the Princess. (Read: bit.do/fzZms)

Whatever she does, wherever she goes, Siri is always criticised and talked about at any time. A lot of people do not even see anything positive from her anymore. She is hence judged as ‘fake’ in the eyes of many. During the uncontrollable pandemic situation, her discourse of ‘having a difficult time’ was questioned by many: how difficult time she has got as a princess? How much does she understand the situation? And how much does she follow the situation and the people’s suffering?

In the previous year, the Princess was involved in public assistance by providing stuff to medical staff and frontline workers handling the virus, e.g. masks, alcohol hand sanitiser, and sodium hypochlorite for supporting the hospitals nationwide. She also attended the production process of the alcohol hand sanitizer by her own.

The Princess said to Vogue Thailand: “No one wants to have the disease. No one even expects how the thing came up. And it is not only in our country. The situation does not choose anyone by classes as well.” It is defined that whoever it is, rich or poor, everyone has his own difficult time, whether much or less in his own way in this kind of situation. No one should be judged by others’ norm.

For Princess Sirivannavari, who called herself as “Thanying”* may still be in a difficult place facing the decreasing popularity. She may spend quite much time to adapt or change herself to pass the tension. It would be good if she can rely or pay attention to some of both sides of comments to encourage more on her way of life…

*Thanying – is a colloquial term referring to minor princesses of the royal family who hold the style of “Serene Highness” (Thai: Mom Chao). Princess Sirivannavari who was born with Serene Highness, was once called as ‘Thanying’ in the royal court of which the term has been used as her own nickname ever since.





Seals and frogs

30 05 2021

If one believes the palace and regime propaganda, Princess Sirivannavari is a multi-talented phenomenon rarely seen in Thailand or anywhere else in the world. Everything she fancies and tries her hand at, she’s just fantastically brilliant.

Of course, this kind of buffalo manure has also been showered on other royals, not least King Bhumibol. But, probably reflective of her “special” relationship to her father, this woman gets more propaganda manure than most.

The Bangkok Post carries yet another story that polishes this royal posterior. It tells us that the:

Royal Thai Navy has presented a navy Seals insignia to Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya for providing special lectures to naval academy students and initiating a project to conserve coral reefs and marine life in Thai waters.

A Navy spokesman, Admiral Chettha Chaipiem, said “the princess was a special guest lecturer for a course on diving for the conservation of coral reefs and marine life in Thailand.”

As indicated in this picture, she’s also credited with having “helped train naval academy students in scuba diving sessions.”

Of course, this is all royal backside burnishing. The Navy has divers far more skilled than a part-time, tourist diver like the princess. When she goes diving, she stays at luxury resorts, used luxury yachts, and uses the Navy to shut down all other activities in her area so she can have everything for herself and a coterie of pampered friends. Her renowned selfishness extended to demanding that an island be renamed for her. She’s never been shy about flaunting royal power or royal wealth.

But, over the years, we have come to see that Sirivannavari relishes the propaganda caress. After all, not only does she see herself as exceptionally beautiful, but she seems to accept the propaganda that she is exceptional at everything she tries.

After topping her class at Chulalongkorn University, the sycophantic Thai media claims she’s a talented designer, with her own Paris shows and has her own fashion brand. She was once a member of Thailand’s national badminton team and, just like her grandfather, received a gold medal at the SEA Games in 2007, despite the fact that she normally played on a secondary circuit. And she is also said to be an international class equestrian. And, for a while she was a diplomat.

Only the gullible and the royalist butt burnishers believe this propaganda.





Me, me, me

29 04 2021

Readers might be interested in a story at Yahoo News/The Daily Beast that uses the Secret Siam work of Andrew MacGregor Marshall.

Titled “Thai Princess Shuts Down Koh Samui Beach For Private Vacation as COVID Surges,” the article refers to Princess Sirivannavari’s “less than impeccable timing” as she “decided it’s time for a diving vacation.”

Using Marshall’s reporting, it states that the “brilliant at everything” (our words) Princess has taken off to:

the island paradise of Koh Samui … as the country reels under a virulent third wave of the coronavirus, a disastrous vaccine rollout marred by cronyism, a complete shutdown of the pivotal international tourist trade, and a political crisis that has resulted in a jailed anti-monarchy and pro-democracy campaigner being desperately ill after a 42-day hunger strike.

Of course, she’s already jumped the line and had her vaccine.

The report adds that “Sirivannavari has been gaily sharing images from the holiday on her private Instagram account, which have been published by subscription newsletter Secret Siam.”

It cites Marshall as reporting that:

orange flags bearing Sirivannavari’s royal crest have been raised around the island and that there is a heavy security presence with five naval vessels anchored off local beauty spot Crystal Bay. Sail Rock, between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, widely regarded as the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand, has been completely closed to all other boats, with local diving companies told to stay away during her trip.

Readers may recall the kerfuffle regarding her earlier trip to the islands, her great love for the islands, even wanting one named after her, and her political bet that celebrity royals can flaunt their prestige, wealth and power without much pushback in royalist Thailand.

Naturally, the lese majeste law and having an authoritarian royalist regime in power supports her chosen lifestyle.





Virus of double standards III

12 04 2021

As the virus surges across the country, even more double standards are revealed. One is highlighted in a Bangkok Post editorial that questions Thailand’s lagging vaccination program, where the king’s company, subsidized with taxpayer funds, is still several months away from producing any vaccine.

The program was, in principle, meant to target “frontline health workers [as]… the top priority, followed by vulnerable groups such as patients with acute and chronic diseases, people with possible exposure to Covid-19, those who live in particularly at-risk areas, and also people living and working in tourism destinations set to open for foreign visitors.”

But, as usual, the powerful are cutting in and grabbing the shots ahead of everyone else. The expected “celebrity” shots have included The Dictator and some royals – we guess that the rest of the latter have been vaccinated. When the execrable Princess Sirivannavari got her first AstraZeneca shot, the accompanying story “explained” that the shot was “suitable for those who have a high risk of infection from interacting with patients or those who travel frequently and interact with many different people,” suggesting an odd reason for the Princess jumped the queue.

But it is the generals and other junta-appointed supporters of Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha in the Senate who get the Post’s attention.

Japanese cats

Senators voting

The Post reports that “wrong priorities sparked an outcry from several MPs who raised the matter with House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, asking why MPs have not been vaccinated, like those in the Upper House.” This complaint revealed “that those 250 military-appointed senators have received their jab, while many more deserving groups have missed out.”

While almost everyone in the country thinks politicians should join others in getting the vaccine when it is due to them, the Post points out that elected MPs “who have to meet their constituents think they deserve early vaccination. That’s quite different from appointed senators who are not responsible to voters in any constituency.”

In fact, the unelected senators are responsible to The Dictator they dutifully selected as prime minister and to their bosses in the military.

Of course, there’s now considerable speculation that, “[a]s all Covid-19 vaccine distribution is controlled by the government,” there must be “someone powerful” who allocated “500 doses of the vaccines (two doses a person) to a group not on the priority list.”

The editorial concludes:

The privilege afforded this special political class is appalling…. It’s a shame that the 250 senators acted selfishly, taking supplies that would have been been saved for those on the frontline. And anyone who had a hand in this happening must also be condemned.

Indeed, but this is just another example of the double standards that infect the royalist-military cabal.








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