Man faces lèse majesté charge after allegedly citing King in water project scam

The authorities in the Northeastern province of Nong Khai arrested a man who falsely used the name of the monarchy in a scam related to a water management project. 

The police and military on Saturday arrested Chotechuang K., 61, after he was accused of fraud and lèse majesté.   

Chotechuang, a former Royal Irrigation Department employee, allegedly claimed that Nong Khai Province was looking to hire companies to conduct projects such as desilting and removing water hyacinth, as part of a mega water management project dedicated to the King. 

Chotechuang allegedly claimed that the Province had hired his company as advisor to the project. About 50 companies who won bids were required to pay a marginal deposit of five per cent of the value of each sub-project via Chotechuang’s company. 

According to ASTV-Manager Online, the total cost of the project is about 10 thousand million baht. 

Kanoksak Muangkaew, owner of one of the companies which won a bid and paid a deposit, said his company was ordered to start work on the project on 5 December, the King’s birthday, but the authorities ordered the company to stop after a few hours. After the governor denied involvement in such projects, he filed a police complaint and submitted a recording of his conversation with Chotechuang as evidence. 

Kanoksak also said that Chotechuang claimed close ties with the US authorities. 

The media reported that Chotechuang pleaded guilty.