Update: Man accused of lèse majesté for mocking King’s dog

Update: Thanakorn’s attorney from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) submitted a 300,000 baht (about 8,300 USD) bail request to the military court. However, the court denied bail, citing the severity of the case as it is related to the Thai monarchy and flight risk.

A 27-year-old factory worker detained and charged with sedition last week for sharing an infographic about the Rajabkati Park corruption scandals is accused of lèse majesté for mocking HM the King’s dog.

On Monday morning, 14 December 2015, the Military Court of Bangkok granted permission for the police to detain Thanakorn S., a factory worker charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, for clicking ‘like’ on Facebook content deemed to defame the Thai monarchy, and Article 116, the sedition law, for posting an infographic on the Rajabhakti park corruption scandal.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that according to the arrest report, he was accused of lèse majesté for clicking ‘like’ and posting a message mocking Thong Daeng, a well-known female copper-coloured dog, one of the King’s pets.

In addition, he was also accused of pressing ‘like’ on a doctored image of the King and sharing it with hundreds of others online.

Thanakorn was arrested at his house in Samut Prakan Province on 8 December 2015 by military and police officers, who invoked Section 44 of the Interim Constitution which gives the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order absolute authority to maintain national security.

He was held incommunicado at an unknown location after his arrest.

According to Pradtanah S., the suspect’s mother, a stranger believed to be a security officer contacted her and informed her that her son had been taken to the 11th Military Circle on Nakhon Chaisi Road, Bangkok.

In addition to the lèse majesté and sedition charges, he was also accused of offenses under the 2007 Computer Crime Act.

Thanakorn could be imprisoned for up to 27 years if found guilty.

According to Matichon Online, police investigators are now gathering information and evidence to press charges against 20 administrators of an anti-establishment red-shirt Facebook group called ‘the National Red Shirts Association’, of which Thanakorn was a member.

Hundreds of members of the Facebook page will also be charged under the lèse majesté law for pressing ‘like’ on pictures and content allegedly defaming the Thai monarchy, Matichon reported. The authorities added earlier that the red-shirt Facebook group is ‘anti-government’ and ‘anti-monarchy’, with about 60,000 members.

The notorious lèse majesté law or Article 112 of the Criminal Code states "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, Heir-apparent or Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years."

Since the coup, offences under the lèse majesté law have been judged by military courts, which allow no appeal. In August 2015, a Thai military court sentenced a man accused of defaming the Thai monarchy on a social network to 30 years in jail in a trial held in camera. The ruling is the heaviest jail term ever recorded for a lèse majesté case.