Thai junta on Tuesday accused a Thai journalist living in self-exile of spreading rumours about the Thai King’s health, which caused the Stock Exchange of Thailand to plunge dramatically on Monday.
Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Army and government spokesman, said the rumour about the King’s health was spread by Jom Petpradab, a veteran journalist now living in self-exile in the US.
“This teaches everyone the lesson that we have to trust only the information from the state. Do not panic over false information,” said the government spokesman.
Sansern said the rumour came from an interview by Jom, but he did not elaborate. However, ASTV-Manager Online said that it was an interview with Jakrapob Penkair, a political activist living in a neighbouring country.
The spokesman added since anti-coup groups were still moving against the junta, martial law has to continue in place.
Meanwhile, JS 100 reported that Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday that he had ordered relevant state agencies to seek extradition of suspects, especially lèse majesté suspects, so that they can be prosecuted under Thai law. He added that rumours were spread by some political refugees.
Two people were found guilty under Article 112 or the lèse majesté law, in relation to similar rumours in the past. They were accused of spreading rumours about the King’s health which caused the SET to plunge in 2009 and 2010.
He also said that although there are “greater human rights” overseas, the military government will have to correct their understanding about the situation in Thailand.
He added that the government has sent representatives to warn these people, but they continue to “commit the crimes,” which were serious and considered threats to national unity and security, so the state has to speed up the process to have them prosecuted.
According to Wassana Nanuam, the Bangkok Post’s military affairs reporter, Prayut also criticized Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a Thammasat University history professor who is now living in self-exile in France, because his Facebook posts incited conflict in the nation and instigated Thais to break the law.