Lèse majesté charges filed against Bua Yai Province campaigners in Khorat

Conflict between local leaders in Northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima Province, commonly known as Khorat, has led to a lèse majesté accusation. The conflict is centred on the campaign to separate Bua Yai and seven other districts from the large province in the Northeast. 

Kampan Boonyued, a former civil servant in Bua Yai District and leading figure in the establishment of the Bua Yai Province campaign, met police investigators on Tuesday to respond to an accusation under Article 112, known as the lèse majesté law, filed by leaders of a group opposing the establishment of Bua Yai Province.

The complaints also accused Sarawut Nuanponkrang and Arun Akarapridi, two other leaders of Bua Yai District, of defaming the monarchy. They however have not been summoned to testify to the police, according to Arun’s Facebook post.

The accusation stated that on 16 February the pro-Bua Yai Province group publicized on Facebook the Establishment of Bua Yai Province Bill and falsely claimed that it had already been signed by the King and counter-signed by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha. 

Kampan told ASTV-Manager online that the accusation was filed because of the conflict surrounding Bua Yai. The complaint is aimed at stopping the Bua Yai group from campaigning for the establishment of Thailand’s 78th province. 

Bua Yai is a large district in the north of Nakhon Ratchasima Province. The proposed Bua Yai Province will include eight districts. While the pro-Bua Yai Province side says that separation will lead to more development, the opposition cites as an argument an inseparable local identity, centred on the controversial legend of Thao Suranari