Policeman Submit More Evidence for Lese Majeste; Charge against BBC Reporter: ‘This is a Conspiracy'

On April 18, Pol Lt Col Wattanasak Mungkitjakarndee presented further documents to the Police Crime Suppression Division (CSD) to corroborate the lèse majesté allegations he had previously made against BBC's Asia-Pacific correspondent Jonathan Head, and said that he believed there was a conspiracy.

Wattanasak had filed the charges on April 8 against Jonathan Head and committee members of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT), alleging that they had committed the offence by holding a seminar entitled ‘Coup, Capital and Crown' on December 13, 2007, which had Thai and foreign academics on the panel, with Head as the moderator. The panellists have yet to be charged.

Wattanasak submitted as evidence Head's articles and partial Thai translations of these. This evidence included Graffiti Reveal Thai Royal Fears (BBC News, Chiang Mai, Monday, 12 March 2007) and Why Thailand's King is so revered (BBC News, Bangkok 5 December 2007).


In his letter to the CSD, he quoted a passage from Head's Graffiti Reveal Thai Royal Fears, which he interpreted as insulting to the Thai King:

...The King is 79 years old and in uncertain health. His son, the Crown Prince, does not enjoy the same affection that his father does, and many Thais feel he cannot fill his father's shoes. These concerns are well-known in Bangkok; less so in the countryside....



And Wattanasak's Thai translation goes:

...¾ÃÐÁËÒ¡ÉѵÃÔÂì·Ã§¾ÃЪ¹Áì¾ÃÃÉÒ 79 »Õ áÅоÃоÅÒ¹ÒÁÑÂäÁèÊÁºÙóì ÊÁà´ç¨¾ÃкÃÁâÍÃÊÒ¸ÔÃÒªÊÂÒÁÁ¡Ø®ÃÒª¡ØÁÒà äÁèä´é·Ã§ÁÕ¤ÇÒÁÊØ¢áÅФÇÒÁª×蹪ͺàªè¹à´ÕÂǡѺ¾ÃкҷÊÁà´ç¨¾ÃÐà¨éÒÍÂÙèËÑÇ áÅЪ¹ªÒÇä·ÂËÅÒÂ æ ¤¹ÃÙéÊÖ¡ÇèÒÊÁà´ç¨¾ÃкÃÁâÍÃÊÒ¸ÔÃÒªÊÂÒÁÁ¡Ø®ÃÒª¡ØÁÒà äÁèÊÒÁÒöÊ׺ÃÒªÊѹµµÔǧÈìä´é ¤ÇÒÁËèǧãÂàÃ×èͧ¹Õéà»ç¹·ÕèÃÙé¡Ñ¹´Õ㹡Ãا෾ÁËÒ¹¤Ã áµèã¹µèÒ§¨Ñ§ËÇÑ´ÃÙé¡Ñ¹¹éÍ¡ÇèÒ...


Wattanasak noted that the phrase ‘he cannot fill his father's shoes' was interpreted in his Thai translation as meaning ‘he cannot succeed to [his father's] throne'.


(And it should be noted that his Thai translation of ‘the Crown Prince does not enjoy the same affection that his father does' has the meaning ‘the Crown Prince does not have the same happiness and affection as His Majesty the King does'.)


Wattanasak stated in his letter that Head's ‘complex rhetoric' made it difficult for the Thais to understand, but was easily understood among foreigners, particularly the foreign media.


He further stated that a ‘series of activities' about the monarchy had been held, though by small groups of people, and participated in by Jakrapob Penkair, now PM Office's Minister, and Thai and foreign academics, and could propagate misunderstandings among the public. He asked the CSD to have ‘linguistics' translate all the documents including two DVDs earlier submitted by him to find out whether there were ‘invisible hands' behind this scheme.


He said that Jonathan Head had continually expressed critical comments, both verbally and in writing, on the monarchy on the BBC website and at the FCCT. He believed that there had to be a mastermind behind this scheme which poses an extreme threat to national security.


According to Wattanasak, Head was also the moderator in another FCCT session on August 29, 2007, which had Jakrapob Penkair, then a vocal anti-coup activist-cum-politician, talk on ‘Monocracy and patronage in Thailand'.


Wattanasak had already filed a lèse majesté charge against Jakrapob on March 24, as he claimed at the time that he watched a video clip of the FCCT session from the YouTube website and then he bought the DVD recordings of the session from the FCCT. (Listen to manager radio)


In his letter, Wattanasak also provided the links below:

Thai king remains centre stage, Sep 21, 2006 (by Kate McGeown)

Thaksin denies Thai blasts link, January 2, 2007 (anonymous)

Thaksin 'can return' to Thailand, January 22, 2007 (anonymous)

Graffiti reveals Thai royal fears, March 12, 2007 (by Jonathan Head)

Swiss man admits Thai king insult, March 12, 2007 (anonymous)

Thaksin faces lèse majesté claims, March 20, 2007 (by Jonathan Head)

Thailand sour over coup a year on, September 19, 2007 (by Jonathan Head)

Why Thailand's king is so revered, December 5, 2007 (by Jonathan Head)

Thailand lurches back to democracy, December 21, 2007 (by Jonathan Head)

Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra, February 28, 2008 (anonymous)

Emotional return for ex-Thai PM, February 28, 2008 (anonymous)

Thaksin's return raises dilemmas, February 28, 2008 (by Jonathan Head)

Thai army moves to stop coup talk, April 1, 2008 (by Jonathan Head)


Related news:

BBC Seeks Solution after its Reporter is Charged with Lèse Majesté

BBC Journalist and FCCT Committee Member Charged with Lèse Majesté