Thai Police establish lèse majesté investigation team

The Thai police have established a special investigation team to intensify a crackdown on lèse majesté cases amid speculation about lèse majesté charges against a well-known fortune-teller who helped organise an event initiated by the Crown Prince.      

On Sunday, 18 October 2015, Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, Chief of the Royal Thai Police, issued Order No. 578/2015 to appoint Pol Lt Gen Sriwara Ransibrahmanakul, Assistant Police Chief, as the head of a team to investigate lèse majesté cases involving people who allegedly make false claims about the monarchy for personal gain.

The order also appoints Pol Lt Gen Thitiraj Nhongharnpitak, the Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, as the deputy head.

On Friday, 16 October 2015, Naewna News Online, reported a rumour that Suriyan Sutjritpolwongse, aka Mo Yong, a well-known fortune-teller, was arrested at his house by police officers on allegations of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code, the lèse majesté law.

After checking with the police, the news outlet reported that the police dismissed the rumour as false. No other media outlets have so far reported the allegations against the fortune-teller.        

In August, Suriyan was involved in the organisation of ‘Bike for Mom’, a cycling event to honour HM the Queen on 16 August 2015, where cyclists joined Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and other members of the Royal Thai Household to cycle around Bangkok and in other parts of the country.

On the same day, the District Chief of Wat Sing District of the central Province of Chainat filed a lèse majesté complaint against Ratchanon B., for making false claims about the monarchy.

The District Chief alleged that Ratchanon claimed to be working for Royal Projects with the authorisation of Crown Princess Sirindhorn, in order to trick others into donating money in a charity scam.

Earlier this year, many members of the family of Srirasmi Suwadee, a former Royal Consort of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, were arrested and charged under Article 112 for citing the monarchy for personal economic interests.

The parents of the deposed consort, her three brothers, and a few other relatives are currently serving jail terms on various charges, such as encroachment into protected areas, bribery, abduction, and lèse majesté.