Why no announcements?

8 06 2023

La Prensa Latina points out the obvious:

Thailand’s royal palace has maintained a deathly silence for five months about the health of Princess Bajrakitiyabha, first-born daughter of King Vajiralongkorn, who was hospitalized in mid-December over a serious heart problem.

Bajrakitiyabha, 44, seen as a possible heir to the throne, was admitted on Dec. 14 after losing consciousness while training her dogs for a dog competition in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, some 250 kilometers northeast of Bangkok.

Of course, there are still “well wishers” who are paraded at the hospital, but it seems that no one is particularly interested to know why the palace is silent.

The Royal Household Bureau began reporting when the princess was transported to hospital in Bangkok, have been rumored to have died in a provincial hospital. As the report recalls, the Bureau:

reported the mishap the following day but did not specify her condition until a few days later when it said she was “stable to some extent” needing artificial support for several vital organs, such as her heart, lungs and kidneys.

The last statement was provided on 7 January. Then silence:

There has since been no information on the princess, for whom authorities organized [nationwide] mass prayers and offerings to wish her a speedy recovery in front of large portraits of her.

The lack of statements is highly unusual. Six months later there is “no news…”. After initial reports, there is no no mention anywhere “about the visits of her father or her relatives to the Chulalongkorn hospital in Bangkok, where she remains.”

We do not agree with the report that there was a similar lack of transparency about King Bhumibol’s long stay in hospital. There were semi-regular reports, even if these lacked detail and were often misleading.

That there are no reports regarding the princess is in line with the long public silence on the fate of royal consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi.

Updated: Courts unlawfully fast-tracking 112 cases

3 06 2023

An earlier photo

Earlier in the week, PPT speculated that the judicial system has been charging, convicting, and repressing at an increased pace. We added that it seemed that the courts and prosecutors are keen to push lese majeste cases through the courts, ensuring that as many are locked up as possible.

That has now been confirmed. In tweets by Thai Enquirer, where it is stated: “Chonthicha [Jaengrew] … noted that her lese-majeste case is not the only one being expedited, as the Criminal Court also fast-tracked the case against another MFP MP candidate, Piyarat ‘Toto’ Chongthep.” In a related tweet it is noted that the “Human Rights Lawyers Association has stated that the fast-tracking of the case was not a result of the defendant’s actions, but rather due to the decision of the deputy director of the criminal court, made without consulting the defendant’s lawyers.”

These tweets refer to court proceedings against Chonthicha that the Association “deemed unlawful in this case and a violation of human rights.

The events that have caused the court to engage in actions deemed unlawful are detailed by Prachatai.

Chonthicha was initially charged with lese majeste following a complaint by Nopadol Prompasit, a member of the bullies who misname themselves the Thailand Help Centre for Cyberbullying Victims, a royalist group that has filed numerous lese majeste complaints against activists, protesters, and internet users. Chonthicha was accused of “posting a message to King Vajiralongkorn during a November 2020 protest, in which protesters marched to the Grand Palace to send letters calling for monarchy reform.”

Witness hearings in the trial against Chonthicha were scheduled for March 2024. However, in a startling move, the Criminal Court changed the schedule to 1–11 June 2023, “even though Chonticha’s lawyer informed them that he is not available on these dates as he has to attend another hearing at the South Bangkok Criminal Court.”

On 1 June, “Chonticha filed a request with the court to postpone the witness examination hearings on the grounds that her lawyer has already informed the court that he is not available and because she did not sign the court order rescheduling the hearings.”

However, the court rejected her request. The court stated that “she did not oppose it when the hearings were rescheduled and because the prosecution witnesses had already come to court, and ruled that the hearings should continue without her lawyer.” In fact, Chonthicha’s lawyer had “filed a request to the court which included a list of cases he is responsible for and hearing schedule.”

Chonthicha protested the court’s decision to proceed. She told the court that hearing witnesses without her lawyer “would undermine her right to a fair trial.”

She then asked to speak with the “Criminal Court Chief Justice or Deputy Chief Justice [Attakarn Foocharoen], who she said decided to reschedule her hearings, but she was refused.” She then “requested to change the judges responsible for the trial on the grounds that their ruling to continue witness examination without her lawyer is unlawful and undermines her ability to fully fight her charges. Her request was later rejected by the Chief Justice because there is no ground to change the judges.” It was Attakarn who rescheduled the court dates.

Chonthicha resolved to reject the process and told the court she “will not sign any document resulting from the hearing.” The court determinedly “insisted on continuing the witness examination after her declaration and summoned 4 prosecution witnesses to the stand without Chonticha’s lawyer to cross examine them.” She was advised by the court “that she may cross examine them herself, she refused to do so in her rejection of the process.”

Chonthicha stated that “if the court insists on examining witnesses knowing that there won’t be a lawyer present then go for it. Section 112 is a criminal charge. According to the principles, there should be a lawyer present. If you want to examine the witnesses, go for it. Let the judicial process fail.”

The court went ahead and heard all seven prosecution witnesses in just two days, and scheduled the next hearing for 6 June.

On 2 June, she filed a complaint with the Judicial Commission. In that complaint, she requested:

disciplinary action to be taken against the judges for expediting her trial to the point of examining witnesses without the defendant’s lawyer. She said that the court did not tell her why her hearings were rescheduled, only saying that it was up to the judges’ discretion. She noted that her lawyer told a court official that he is representing Parit Chiwarak and other activists and would not be available. Despite this, the court rescheduled the hearings without asking her lawyer to confirm them.

Legalities and technicalities hardly matter in Article 112 cases. What does matter is who is directly the judges. And, clearly, there is considerable effort now being made, after long delays, to convict activists.

Of course, the fact that Chonthicha has just been elected as a Move Forward MP is likely a factor in the ruling class’s decision-making on these cases. As she said “she was indicted only days after she announce[d] her intention to run an an MP candidate for the Move Forward party in February 2023.”

The Human Rights Lawyers Association “said that rescheduling hearings without confirming whether the defence lawyer is available and not allowing the hearings to be postponed is unlawful and damages the fundamental principles of the judicial process.” The Association “called on the Chief Justice of the Criminal Court to investigate these actions and prevent them from occurring again so as to stop any unfair and unlawful proceedings, noting that although trials can be expedited so that they do not take too long, doing so must also be fair to everyone involved.”

Of course, the Chief Justice is a party to these proceedings (see above) and is likely to be the one ordering and/or transmitting orders on these cases.

Update: Should we believe that the bureaucracy running the courts are bumbling idiots (along with some of the judges) and that they cocked up or is it that there’s a conspiracy? We at PPT usually prefer the idea of dolts cocking up, but it is sometimes difficult to know. Prachatai reports on a cock-up/conspiracy involving Chonthicha’s lawyer, stating that, at last, the “Criminal Court has postponed the witness examination hearings in the [Article 112]… trial of activist and MP designate Chonticha Jangrew, claiming that it has just discovered her lawyer’s schedule in its own case information system. Yes, seriously.

It adds that:

the Court has now postponed Chonticha’s hearings, saying that it has found on its online case information system that her two lawyers have to attend hearings in a royal defamation trial against activists charged for wearing crop tops in a protest at the Siam Paragon shopping mall.

While the court did not grant the request for the prosecution witnesses to testify again, it agreed to summon them to court for cross examination by the defendant’s lawyers on 11 August, noting that the previous hearings we recorded on video and the defendant may request to see this before the cross examination.

We think we lean to conspiracy on this one, and it has been the public outrage that has caused the court to claim a cock-up.

The monarchy and Thai society IV

13 05 2023

The Monarchy and Thai society


The next point is that in addition to the expansion of the royal prerogative by the monarchy in excess of that permitted by the system, the dictatorship of Prayuth Chan-ocha has referred to the monarchy in order to undemocratically govern this country. Part of this is the enactment of the National Budget Act that allocates funds to the monarchy without examination of the monarchy’s expenditures, brothers and sisters.

This is an important issue. Every organization that uses funds from the national budget must be audited and must be able to be criticized. But this is not an issue for this government. Funds have been apportioned in many areas in excess of necessity. For example, the Ministry of Commerce has promoted the fashion clothing of Sirivannavari. The national budget has been used to promote the personal brand of a princess.* This is this government’s excessive sucking up to the monarchy. This would not happen if we had an elected government.

The next point is the parliamentary provision of a more than 5,000,000,000 baht [153.8 million USD] budget allocation for air travel in the National Budget Act. We have seen the problems that arise where our monarchy is abroad for long stretches. Within a democracy, parliament is able to hold a debate and advise the king to return to the country. But such things do not arise in Thailand. Many tens of thousands of millions of baht have been squandered without any oversight.

This does not include the budget of the local organizations that constructed roadway arches to glorify the monarchy to the tune of tens of millions. Whether people are going to be loyal to the monarchy or are going to believe in the monarchy has nothing to do with the roadway arches, but rests on the actions of each royal. Therefore, this toadying excessive allocation of the national budget to construct such arches, when we are facing COVID-19 and impoverished people have nothing to eat, must stop from this point forward. They should not exist. If they do, only as necessary and in concert with the country’s economic state.

I speak today out of great concern for the country. I speak about the problems that have arisen from the expansion of the monarchy’s royal prerogative as a citizen. I do not have any other intention, brothers and sisters. I am not just blathering on either: I have proposals to address the problems.

After this, if we amend the constitution, have an election, and have a parliament with representatives who are on the side of democracy, the sections of the constitution that pertain to the monarchy must be revised. The king must be in Thailand in order to be the revered idol of those of us in the country, rather than going to live in Germany. In cases in which he does go, a regent must be appointed to act in his stead in Thailand so as to not leave the country king-less. The king should be in the country as befits a democracy with the king as head of state. This must be addressed.

The next matter that must be addressed is amendment of the law that has allowed the assets which are the public property of the country, which belong to us, to be transferred to the monarchy. This has taken place via the 2018 Royal Assets Structuring Act. These assets must be pulled back to be ours once again. The law must be revised so that the assets which belong to the public, whether Sanam Luang, or Wat Phra Kaew, are returned to belong to us, the people, brothers and sisters.

If this is left unaddressed, brothers and sisters, it is unavoidable that there will one day be a violent clash between two groups and two ideologies. One day, if we choose a political party that favors democracy, they must dive in and amend this law. If they do not do so, a battle will ensue. For sure. Each one of us must work together to vote for the party that has a policy to revise the constitution to really and truly bring the monarchy under it. We must vote for the party that has a policy to return public assets to the people. Choose that party, brothers and sisters. Do not choose parties with policies to expand and expand the royal prerogative, who squander the national budget and who do not pay attention to the economic conditions of the people. We will starve to death, but they expend and lavish money upon the monarchy to the tune of tens of thousands of millions. Do not choose them. People like this need to be taught a lesson.

Finally, thank you to the brothers and sisters who have come to listen and participate in the Harry Potter-themed activism today. If anything happens because I spoke the truth, whether I am threatened, or prosecuted, or killed, I do not regret it. Today I have spoken the truth. And this truth will be with every one of you, brothers and sisters. We are going to haunt the dictators until real, actual democracy belongs to each and every one of us.

Next, representatives of the students are going to read a declaration. They are going to affirm their group’s principles and share the stance that the students from Kasetsart University and Mahanakorn University have adopted in organizing today’s event. Brothers and sisters, if there is another protest, if anyone is going to talk about the problem that has been pushed under the carpet, I ask everyone to talk about it responsibly. I ask everyone to talk about it frankly. And I ask everyone to talk about this problem with respect and a sense of their own humanity, brothers and sisters. Don’t just castigate the monarchy. Provide facts. Present ways of solving the problems. Be straightforward. I believe that everyone is ready to listen and solve the problems now. We have to collectively resolve the problem of the monarchy before there is a crisis of faith in the country and before the belief in the monarchy declines further.

*Sirivannavari is a fashion label run by Rama 10’s daughter of the same name. –trans.

The monarchy and Thai society II

9 05 2023

Arnon and Panupong

The Monarchy and Thai society


The first of these laws was the 2017 Royal Service Administrative Act. This law created the opportunity for units to be established directly by the king and to act according to the king’s pleasure, but for the salaries of such units to be paid by the people.

An important law, the 2018 Royal Assets Structuring Act, was then drafted. An organization, the Crown Property Bureau, already existed to manage the assets of the king. There may have been problems and arguments over who looked after the assets of the crown and [personal] assets of the king. But the amendment of the constitution and the promulgation of this law in 2018 was an earth-shattering transformation of Thai politics.


Because after this, brothers and sisters, those assets which were national, public assets which we owned collectively, whether Sanam Luang or the palaces or the shares of stock of which we once shared ownership, became the property of the king and subject to management according to the king’s pleasure.

This mattered but no one dared to talk about it. That is the reason why the younger brothers and sisters asked me to speak today. How is it important? When the People’s Party transformed rule [from absolute to constitutional monarchy on 24 June 1932], they made a clear division of assets. The People’s Party did not touch those which belonged to the king. But those which came from our taxes before the transformation were given to the state to administer by the People’s Party. It is important in that these assets, many of which we once used communally, are no longer as such. For example, children played and homeless people dwelled on Sanam Luang when it was not being used for royal ceremonies. We will not see such things anymore.

That alone was not enough. The transformation of the assets of the crown to be administered solely by the king caused another point of law to arise. When our king is residing in Germany, according to the terms set by the state of Bavaria in Germany, he may be required to pay tens of thousands of millions in baht in tax. To whom do those tens of thousands of millions of baht belong? It is the tax money of each and every one of us. This is a significant vulnerability of which the Prayuth government has never spoken.

All of us witnessed the subsequent problematic amendment of the constitution. All of us have talked about it. The students who are down below the stage have all talked about it. But many have turned a deaf ear to it. What problems arise when the king does not live in the country? At present, a Western incarnation of King Tabinshwehti is ridiculing our king in Germany by projecting lasers and having children shoot air guns.* It is unseemly and has arisen because the king is not in the country. It also includes the instance of ministers being unable to swear an oath of allegiance before being appointed. They had to wait for the king to return to the country first. Everyone is aware of this problem. All of the police know but no one dares to discuss it. Everyone who came to the demonstration on 18 July 2020 who held up posters about this knows.** But no one talks about it.

Today, therefore, Harry Potter has to talk about it [referring to the persona and theme of the protest – PPT]. It is not only that laws been been promulgated that have caused the monarchy to move outside democracy. Do you remember, brothers and sisters, when the election was held in 2019? The elected government proposed another law: the 2019
Royal Decree on the Partial Transfer of Forces and Budget of the Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, Ministry of Defence to the Royal Security Command, a Royal Unit. The 1st and 11th Infantry Regiments were transferred for the monarchy to supervise according to the king’s pleasure.

This is significant. No democracy exists in which the king is given the power to supervise such a large number of soldiers. Not a one. Doing so is risky. It risks transforming a monarchy that exists within a democracy into an absolutist regime.

We are lucky in our unluckiness in that there was one daring political party which stood up and raised this issue in parliament. Allow me to mention his name. At the time, he was a member of parliament for the Future Forward Party and said that they did not endorse the promulgation of a royal decree transferring military forces to be under the monarchy.

That person is named Piyabutr Saengkanokkul. He was the first and only member of parliament in decades of Thai history who dared to stand up and raise this issue in parliament. He discussed the troubling nature of this transfer because it was accomplished through royal decree, rather than allowing a wide-ranging debate in parliament. In addition, placing many military units under the monarchy risked leading to a change in the form of governance. As fate had it, talking about this issue led to the dissolution of the Future Forward Party.***

Today, we are a democracy with the king as head of state. But the monarchy exercises royal prerogative in excess of that permitted in a democracy. With respect for the monarchy, there is no way to solve this problem without talking about it.

This kind of discussion is not the toppling of the monarchy. But it is talking about it so that the monarchy will exist in Thai society in a manner that is correct and legitimate for a democracy with the king as head of state. All of the students who came out to protest after the new year are aware of this. All of the students who hold up posters with messages containing a double meaning that mention the individual I have already discussed are aware of this. From now on, there must be discussion of this in public. Each of us must demand that members of parliament discuss this in parliament as our representatives.

Do not leave it to those on the margins to have to talk about the monarchy and then face threats and harassment all alone. Do not leave it to the political exiles to talk about the monarchy and then be brutally murdered and disappeared. From now on, this is not going to happen anymore. From now on, no one who comes out to talk about the monarchy will be accused of being crazy or insane and scooped up and put in the hospital even though they spoke the truth. Brothers and sisters, this is not going to happen any more.

*King Tabinshwehti was the king of Burma from 1530-1550 CE and led the first (1547-1549) in a series of wars between Burma and Siam (the predecessor of present-day Thailand) that continued until the mid-1800s. In June 2017, two German teenagers shot air guns at Rama 10 on a bike path in Munich. In early 2020, activists used laser lights to project questions about the monarchy on to the exterior walls of a hotel where Rama 10’s entourage was staying in Germany.—trans.

** On 18 July 2020, Free Youth held a protest at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok. Both Arnon and Panupong Jadnok were later arrested for their participation in the protest.—trans.

***On 21 February 2002, the Constitutional Court ruled to dissolve the Future Forward Party and cited as a reason that a loan of $6 million USD that Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the party’s leader, was a donation and therefore illegal. The party was disbanded and its leadership, including Thanathorn and Piyabutr, were banned from holding political office for ten years.—trans.

The monarchy and Thai society I

8 05 2023

The Monarchy and Thai Society
Arnon Nampha

Greetings to the brothers and sisters who have come out to protest today.

Before beginning, I must inform you that I was contacted by my younger brothers and sisters from Kasetsart University and Mahanakorn University to speak about only one topic. It is one that many people wish to hear about, but no one discusses or mentions directly.

Out of honor and respect for myself, and to honor and respect the brothers and sisters who have come to listen, and with the greatest honor and respect for the monarchy, it is of the utmost necessity that we speak about how the monarchy is involved in Thai politics today. We have shoved this problem under the carpet for many years, brothers and sisters. There is no mention of the actual problem, which means that the solutions miss the mark.

We have to accept the truth that part of the reason that the students and the people have risen up to protest today is because many wish to ask questions about our monarchy. They hold up signs at demonstrations about the person who is in Germany and mention the person who flies back and forth. Such statements can allude to no one other than our monarch, brothers and sisters. But they are meaningless if we do not speak frankly and with reason and evidence in line with the principles of the rule of democracy with the king as head of state.

Brothers and sisters, at present we are facing a problem of the utmost importance. This problem is that our monarchy has grown more and more distant from democracy. This process began after the 2014 coup. Prayuth Chan-ocha and his cohort that launched the coup ordered their jurists to draft a new constitution. The first was drafted by Bowornsak Uwanno. The content of the constitution first drafted by Bowornsak was not substantially different from that of the 2007 Constitution. It turned out that the Thai ruling class did not accept it and the National Reform Assembly (NRA) dispensed with it.* The NRA then handed the responsibility to the real, live wizard-jurist of Thailand, Meechai Ruchuphan. Meechai used his wizardry to design a constitution with a structure that was conducive to the expansion of the royal prerogative in a direction departing from democracy. The farther, the better.

How did he design it?

1. He designed the second paragraph of Section 15 to create royal units as part of national governance, and for such units to be administered in line with the king’s pleasure. Translated into common language, the statement that such units will be administered in line with the king’s pleasure means that they will be run as the king wishes.** The design of this law is in complete contravention to democracy. Subsequently, the draft was brought to a referendum through a messy process. The referendum itself lacked any semblance of democracy. Many of my friends were arrested and threatened.***

2. But once it was passed through a referendum, the monarchy interfered in the promulgation of the constitution. The first time was when Prayuth Chan-ocha presented the constitution passed through the referendum to the king. The king ordered the amendment of the constitution on many key points. If the country was a democracy with the king as head of state, this could not occur because it was official interference with the promulgation of the constitution.

The amendment involved two significant points:

The first amendment regarded the situation of a national crisis. Meechai’s constitution said to examine it in line with administrative custom and to establish a committee to examine [the situation] with the president of the Supreme Court, the president of the Administrative Court, the president of Parliament, and the opposition leader. Examination of national crises would be carried out by those institutions bound up with the people. But the king ordered amendment and for this point to be removed. All that remained was for the examination to be in line with the custom of democracy with the king as head of state. This was the first amendment with definite impact on the key content of the constitution.

The second amendment was to make it such that the king does not need to appoint a regent to act in his stead when he is not in the country.^ We have therefore seen our king go to live in Germany and Switzerland. He returns to Thailand infrequently. This is a fact that all of the brothers and sisters know. All of the soldiers and police know. But I believe that no one dares to say it. With the greatest respect for the monarchy, I think that this problem must be officially discussed in order to collectively find a solution.

Upon promulgation, the power of Meechai Ruchuphan’s constitution was immediately displayed. The NLA, which had been appointed by that damn dictator Prayuth, colluded to pass many laws which expanded the monarchy’s royal prerogative.

[To be continued]

*The National Reform Assembly (NRA) was one of the five bodies appointed by the junta in 2014. The draft constitution was not passed: there were 105 votes in support of the draft, 135 against it, and 7 abstentions.

**Section 15 of the 2017 Constitution stipulates that: “The appointment and removal of officials of the Royal Household shall be at the King’s pleasure. The organisation and personnel administration of the Royal Household shall be at the King’s pleasure, as provided by Royal Decree.”

***The 2016 Act on the Referendum of the Draft Constitution criminalized protest, dissemination of information and even comment on the draft not explicitly authorized by the junta. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights documented at least 212 people who faced prosecution for actions including distributing flyers, organizing seminars on the draft constitution, and tear up their own ballots in protest of the drafting and referendum process…. [citation deleted].

^Section 16 of the 2017 Constitution stipulates that: “Whenever the King is absent from the Kingdom or unable to perform His functions for any reason whatsoever, the King may appoint one person or several persons forming a council as Regent. In the case where a Regent is appointed, the President of the National Assembly shall countersign the Royal Command therefor.”

Academic articles on Thailand I

4 05 2023

As we do from time to time, PPT has been looking at academic journals to see what is being written on politics, economy, and society in Thailand over the last year and a half. Doing this gives a bit of a feel for what the academic world is thinking about Thailand. This time, we have to say that it is thin pickings in terms of getting PPT interested.

Some papers are free to download while others are behind a paywall. We have always found authors generous in providing copies if they are contacted.

Here’s some of what we found:

Michael K. Connors, Beyond the Leader: An Ideational-Political Logics Approach to Redshirt Movement Populism in Thailand

Alyssa Gosteli Dela Cruz et. al., Explaining Thailand’s Politicised COVID-19 Containment Strategies: Securitisation, Counter-Securitisation, and Re-Securitisation

Asian Studies Review

Michael K. Connors, Towards a History of Conservative Liberalism in Thailand after the 1932 Siamese Revolution: An Ideological Analysis

Puangchon Unchanam, Capital, Charity and the Crown: Philanthrocapitalism and Monarchy in Thailand

Peera Charoenvattananukul, The End of Compromise: Political Meanings of Thailand’s First National Day Celebrations on 24 June 1939

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Kingdom of Fear: Royal Governance under Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Nationhood in the Cloud: Cyber Sovereignty in Thailand

Journal of Southeast Asian Economies

Nattanicha Chairassamee and Oudom Hean, Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Labour Market in Thailand

Wannaphong Durongkaveroj, Recent Developments in Basic Education in Thailand Issues and Challenges


 Eric Haanstad, Phantasmagorias of Violence in Thai and Filipino Drug Wars: Projecting Police Drug Suppression through Media Spectacles in Southeast Asia

Modern Asian Studies

Tomas Larsson, Religion, political parties, and Thailand’s 2019 election: Cosmopolitan royalism and its rivals

Asian International Studies Review

Poowin Bunyavejchewin, Wichian Intasi and Watcharabon Buddharaksa, The Myth of Sino–Thai Brotherhood: Archival Evidence on Thailand’s Relations with China in Continental Southeast Asia in the 1990s

The Pacific Review

Alexander Bukh, The productive power of rising China and national identities in South Korea and Thailand

Chanintira na Thalang, Making sense of Thailand’s agency in changing global and regional environments

Activist convicted on 112

30 04 2023

Election campaigning and intensified debate regarding Article 112 seems to be intensifying royalist courts’ efforts to lock people up.

Prachatai reports that activist Nawat Liangwattana, indicted on 8 December 2021, was sentenced on 26 April 2023 to three years in prison under Article 112.

The lese majeste charge was for a speech given at a protest on 13 February 2021.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) stated that “Nawat was charged with royal defamation, destruction of property, blocking a public road, violation of the Emergency Decree, violation of the Public Cleanliness Act, and using a sound amplifier without permission for his participation in the protest.”

As well as the three years, he “was also sentenced to 2 months in prison and a fine of 2,000 baht for destruction of property, and a fine of 1,000 baht for using a sound amplifier without permission, although TLHR noted that the maximum fine as stated in the Sound Amplifier Act is 200 baht.”

The court reduced this to 1 year and 7 months in prison and a fine of 1,500 baht because he confessed.

The public prosecutor reportedly decided that “calling for monarchy reform, demanding that the King must be under the Constitution, and questioning how the royal family uses taxpayers’ money is not an expression of opinion in good faith and can damage King Vajiralongkorn’s reputation.”

Prachatai states that “Nawat is facing 18 charges for joining pro-democracy protests, including 4 counts of royal defamation [lese majeste]. This is the first time he has been found guilty and sentenced to prison.”

He was later granted bail.

Off to London

29 04 2023

We are late on this, but it has been stated at a usually accurate royal blog that King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida have confirmed their attendance at King Charles’ coronation.

As far as we know, Vajiralongkorn hasn’t been anywhere since returning from Germany to see off the anti-royal youth rebellion.

This is kind of newsworthy given that no Thai royal attended Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. At the time that seemed a bit odd.

Where is Sineenart? That’s still odd.

Another Bhumibol 112 conviction

29 04 2023

The Bangkok Post reports (yes, it is actually again reporting 112 cases) that a royalist Appeals Court has “reversed a lower court’s decision to acquit a suspect charged with lese majeste over remarks deemed offensive to the monarchy.” Thaiger also reports the case.

It reports, via Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, that the “Court found the defendant, identified only as Wutthipat, guilty of violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code.”

Wutthipat made a comment on Facebook’s Royalist Marketplace page on 2 June 2020, that was deemed “offensive to a former king and the current monarch.”

Earlier, the Samut Prakan Provincial Court had dismissed the case. It considered, rightly, that the defendant had posted a comment referencing the dead King Bhumibol and an even longer dead King Ananda. His comments had something to do with the the still officially unexplained death of King Ananda Mahidol in 1946. Correctly, that court ruled that Article 112 “only protects the current king, queen, heir to the throne and regent.”

However, the Appeals Court ruled that those comments also offended the current king.

The court initially sentenced Wutthipat to “five years in jail, but due to his making a statement useful to the hearing, the court commuted it to three years and four months…. The defendant was released on bail pending an appeal at the Supreme Court.”

The complaint against Wutthipat was made on 19 July 2021, by Siwaphan Manitkul, said to be “a private citizen.”

During the court’s witness hearings in March 2022, “Wutthipat admitted he had posted the comment and made a reference to King Rama IX, the younger brother of King Rama VIII, though he argued Section 112 did not cover past kings.”

111 lese majeste

25 04 2023

Clipped from Prachatai

Prachatai reports that Songpol “Yajai” Sonthirak, a Thalufah activist has been summoned by the police in Khon Kaen on a lese majeste complaint.

The complaint was filed with police by Kamon Kitkasiwat, the leader of a royalist vigilante group in Khon Kaen, who is also standing as an MP candidate for the mad royalist Thai Pakdee Party.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights believe the “cause of the complaint against Songpol is probably because he flashed the three-finger … salute after receiving his degree certificate from Princess Sirindhorn, King Vajiralongkorn’s younger sister, during Khon Kaen University’s graduation ceremony on 20 December 2022.”

As far as PPT is aware, the rotund princess is not covered by Article 112: “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

But what the law states in very clear words that has never really give police, prosecutors or judges much cause to follow the law. They all make stuff up.

According to Songpol, in a January 2023 interview, “his action was not planned, but he did it because he wanted to take the few seconds he had in front of the Princess to communicate his demands directly to someone in the royal family.” Prachatai adds:

Songpol said his demands were to remove then-Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha from office, amend the Constitution, and repeal the royal defamation law. He said he left the stage and went back to his seat afterwards, and did not see if or how the Princess or her guards reacted. Nevertheless, he was sure he did not cause problems as the graduation ceremony continued normally.

Songpol said:

“I believe that displaying the three-finger salute is not an offence, and I feel that doing this might lead to some changes more than (thinking about) the consequences. When I walked up [onto the stage], I felt that it was really my space. It was the people’s space where I can do this,” he said.

Songpol said that, after the end of the first half ceremony, a lecturer from the Faculty of Law came to ask him if he would be doing anything else and asked that he not take any action during the next half. He also said that after the ceremony ended, a lecturer and plainclothes officer spoke to his parents, who were waiting outside the auditorium, and made them sign a note acknowledging that his action was inappropriate.

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