Military press police on new lèse majesté purge

After the Thai National Police Chief set up a special investigation team tasked with cracking down on lèse majesté cases, a high-ranking police officer revealed that the team was formed after lèse majesté complaints filed by the military.   

According to Daily News online, Pol Lt Gen Sriwara Rangsipramanakul , the Assistant Police Chief now heading a 19-member investigative team on lèse majesté cases, revealed on Monday afternoon, 19 October 2015, that the police had already submitted to the court case-files and arrest warrants for suspects under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code, the lèse majesté law.

He said that the measure was prompted after the Thai military filed lèse majesté complaints against individuals who allegedly flaunted connections with the Thai monarchy for personal benefit.     

The Police General added that the arrest warrants against the suspects are likely to be issued by the military court on Wednesday, 21 October 2015, after which the police will arrest the suspects.

The head of the lèse majesté investigation team, however, refused to disclose any information about the identities and numbers of the suspects, or their activities. “Everything is in the case file. You will know about it when we take them on remand, and we expect to remand them on Oct. 21,” Khaosod English quoted Sriwara as saying.

On Sunday, 18 October 2015, Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, Chief of the Royal Thai Police, issued Order No. 578/2015 to establish a special investigation team to purge people who make false claims about the monarchy for personal economic interests, with Pol Lt Gen Sriwara as head of the team.

The National Police Chief also declined to give any details about the new lèse majesté crackdown.

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 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 many other relatives are currently serving jail terms on various charges, such as encroachment into protected areas, bribery, abduction, and lèse majesté.

Almost 30 people with connections to the family of the former Royal Consort were arrested and charged under Article 112, including Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayapan, a former Chief of the Central Investigation Bureau, who was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment under the lèse majesté law and a series of other crimes.

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