Ultra-royalists hunt overseas for Thais accused of lèse-majesté

Ultra-royalist Thais living abroad have harassed fellow Thais accused of insulting the Thai monarchy.

On 22 October 2016, a Youtube clip showing a few Thai women in Sweden looking for a Thai woman named ‘Wanphen’ was posted.

In the video, the women visit an apartment where Wanphen is believed to be residing. They knock on the door, but leave shortly after the rooms’ occupants do not answer.
 
One of the women in the video then utters swear words in Thai against Wanphen as she walks out of the apartment building.
 
On the same day, another Thai man residing in Sweden posted a similar Youtube clip vowing that he will hunt for Wanphen and slap her once he finds her.  
Before the 2014 coup d’état, Wanphen put up several Youtube videos and Facebook posts with content deemed defamatory to the Thai monarchy.
 
In her latest Youtube video published on 22 October 2016, she condemns the lèse-majesté witch-hunts that are occurring across the country in the aftermath of King Bhumibol’s passing on 13 October, saying that Thai people have been ‘brainwashed’.   
 
On 24 October, Maj Gen Rienthong Nanna, chairman of the ultra-royalist vigilante group Rubbish Collection Organisation (RCO), posted a Facebook status on his account encouraging Thai people to share personal information about a pair of Thai siblings in Belgium who have allegedly defamed the Thai monarchy. He also shared information about where they reportedly live.
 
The Facebook status was posted slightly before Rienthong’s Facebook account was closed down due to being reported. However, the Facebook page of the RCO still exists. Rienthong vowed that “he shall return”.  
 
Earlier, Rienthong had posted on his Facebook account the address of Wanna, a Thai living in Paris. He alleged that Wanna is sheltering Saran Chuichai, also known as Aum Neko, a lèse-majesté suspect who is currently in self-imposed exile in France.
 
Right after King Bhumibol’s death, Saran broadcasted radical comments about the Thai monarchy through Facebook live. Her live broadcast triggered public outrage that can be seen from comments on Rienthong’s Facebook post.
 
“Very urgent. To all Thai people in France, please check whether there is a Thai named Wanna sheltering Aum Neko or not. Please check at the address,” read Rienthong’s post. “After checking, please contact me directly at info@mongkutwattana.co.th or post in the comments.”
 
Saran left Thailand in exile after the 2014 coup and fled to France. She was charged with Article 112 of the Criminal Code — the lèse-majesté law — for expressing her radical opinions against the monarchy online.
 

Thai women visit an apartment where Wanphen, a Thai living in Sweden accused of lèse-majesté, is believed to be residing (Photo from Youtube)

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