Man arrested for writing lese majeste messages in mall’s restroom

Please read the updated report here

The military arrested and filed a lese majeste charge against a 67-year-old man for writing messages deemed defaming the monarchy in a shopping mall’s restrooms.

Opas C., was captured by the mall’s employee on Wednesday and was later arrested by the military.

On Friday, the military brought him to the crime suppression unit and filed a charge under Article 112, or the lese majeste law, against him. He confessed that he wrote the message.

The messages deemed lese majeste were written on three restrooms of the Secon Square shopping mall in eastern Bangkok .

Asked by reporters why he wrote such messages, the old man replied “the politics stressed me out” added that he was frustrated living under the junta.

The reporters further asked what he thinks about the monarchy, he said he was merely curious whether the monarchy enjoyed so much privileges. He said he listened to a pro-democracy community radio FM 88.5, which questioned the role of the anti-election People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) movement, which led him to writing such comments.

According to a phone interview with Opas by Prachatai, however, Opas said that Lieu Col Burin was trying to instruct him to admit that he wrote the lese majeste messages because of the now defunct pro-democracy community radio he listened to, that has been closed down two years ago. He added that he only wanted to criticise the political stance of the Democrat Party.

One of the messages: “The comedian government that robbed the nation, led by f*** Prayuth. They have issued ridiculous policies of amature comedians. Their main job is to use the monarchy (The uncle --censored by Prachatai*--). Their main weapon is the Article 112. You***I’m sick of see your face everyday. It tells me that you are near the end because of the looming internal conflict.”

*The censored phrase, allegedly is the reference to the King, merely described a physical description of ‘the uncle’.  

Lieu Col Burin Thongpraphai, the staff judge advocate who brought the suspect to the police at the Crime Suppression Division told reporters that “the comments that the suspects made was clear. He could criticise the government, but not the monarchy. There will be many people like this if people consume the news without filtering.”

The staff judge advocate said Opas will be tried in the military court.

The shopping mall also demanded Opas for 2,000 baht of compensation from writing the messages. 

 

Advertisements

Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: service@prachatai.com, please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”