Police identify Banpodj, arrest 2 more for lèse majesté

A Thai court has issued an arrest warrant for a man accused of being Banpodj, the head of an alleged criminal organization, the “Banpodj Network”, defaming the monarchy on the internet. Two more suspects related to the alleged network were also arrested.
 
Pol Lt Prawut Thavornsiri, spokesperson of the Royal Thai Police, on Monday revealed that the police suspected that Banpodj was Hassadin U. 
 
Pol Lt Prawut said the police raided Hassadin’s residence on Sukhumvit Road on Friday and found machines for producing media, computers and CDs. The police said Hassadin headed a production house which was paid to produce lèse majesté voice clips and found that the house had a cash flow of about 100,000 baht every month. 
 
Prawut said Hassadin is on the run, but still in Bangkok, and that he is a red-shirt supporter. 
 
The police put up a 200,000 baht reward for the arrest of Hassadin.  
 
The police have also arrested Natee P. and Saifon I. and accused them of offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse majesté law). 
 
Natee was accused of being the distributor of the lèse majesté Banpodj CDs, while Saifon was accused of opening bank accounts for Banpodj and fundraising for him. The police took them to the military court on Saturday when the court approved a custody petition. 
 
Thai police in late January arrested six people who were allegedly part of the Banpodj Network.
 
The police said the group, set up in 2011, was divided into three levels. The commander, Banpodj, was responsible for producing content discrediting the military junta and the monarchy. The operative level was responsible for distributing the lèse majesté content on social media, such as Facebook, blogs, and YouTube, and the support level sought financial support and sold products, such as supplements, to support the group’s activity. 
 
“DJ Banpodj” is known among red shirts for political podcast radio programmes which criticized the establishment.
 
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