Trial of alleged SMS sender begins

On 23 Sept, Amphon Tangnoppakul, 61, was brought to the Criminal Court for the first hearing of his case.  He is charged with having sent messages offensive to the monarchy to former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s personal secretary through his mobile phone in May last year.

He has been charged with lèse majesté under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and offences under Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.

Somkiat Krongwattanasuk, personal secretary to Abhisit during his premiership, and Pol Lt Sakchai Kraiveeradechachai from the Technology Crime Suppression Division testified as prosecution witnesses.

Somkiat told the court that he received four messages deemed offensive to the King and Queen in May 2010, so he filed a police complaint with screen captures from his mobile phone.

Pol Lt Sakchai said that after receiving the complaint from Somkiat at Government House, he checked the IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) of the phone number with all three mobile phone service providers, and was informed by True and DTAC that the mobile phone had been used to make calls to a registered user, a woman who was later found to be the defendant’s daughter.

The woman was summoned by the police and told them that the phone number belonged to her father, he said.

Rosmalin, Amphon’s wife, told reporters prior to the hearing that her daughter had been summoned by the police who claimed that she was involved in a drugs case.  However, the police told her daughter that the drugs allegation was withdrawn after she had given them the information.

The hearing finished by noon, and will resume on 27-29 Sept.

About 20 people attended the hearing, including the defendant’s wife, daughter and young grandchildren who gave him a hug and cried when he was brought to and taken from the court.

Amphon was arrested on 3 Aug 2010, and was released on bail on 4 Oct 2010.  He was jailed again at the Bangkok Remand Prison on 18 Jan this year when he was indicted by the public prosecutor, and he has been denied bail ever since.  He suffers from cancer of the mouth. 



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