Man claiming to be relative of ex-royal consort sentenced to 5 years in jail for lèse majesté

The Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced a man who claimed to be a relative of Srirasmi Suwadee, former royal consort to the Crown Prince, to ten years in jail for lèse majesté and two other charges, but the jail term was halved because he pleaded guilty.

Ekachai Ployhin, 28, was found guilty on three offences of defaming the monarchy, asking for bribes, and illegal possession of weapons. The court gave him five years, three years and two years jail terms for each offence, respectively. 

According to the verdict, reported by Thairath, Ekachai in December 2008 asked for bribes from the family of Paitoon Nemesan, then a suspect in illicit drug case. He claimed that as a relative of Srirasmi, he could help Paitoon to walk free from the drug charges if the family paid him 1.3 million baht. The family paid the money, but Paitoon was still convicted of the crime and served a jail term.  

Later, the police raided his house at western Ratchaburi Province and arrested him. Police also found several arms during the raid.  

No reports indicated the relations between Ekachai and Srirasmi, but they both are natives of Ratchaburi. 

Early this week, the criminal court sentenced Srirasmi’s parents to two and a half years in jail for making false claims about the Crown Prince.

Apart from her parents, close family members of Srirasmi, including her older sister, brother-in-law and younger brothers, are now in jail on various charges, such as encroachment into protected areas, bribery, abduction, and lèse majesté, after the divorce of the disgraced former princess and her demotion to commoner.

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