Provincial court grants bail to lèse majesté suspect

A provincial court in eastern Thailand has granted bail to a man arrested for lèse majesté after he was beaten by a group of vigilantes for allegedly insulting the late King on social media.   

On 22 November 2016, the Provincial Court of Chonburi Province granted 200,000 baht bail to a 19-year-old man referred to as ‘K’, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported.

K had been detained at Chonburi Central Prison since 20 October. He is accused of an offence under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for allegedly posting a message on Facebook deemed defamatory to the Thai monarchy.

According to THLR, the alleged lèse majesté content was a message posted on the morning of 18 October on a Facebook group for people who like to sell and buy antiques. K reportedly posted a joke which was considered inappropriate by members of the page.    

After the message was posted, a group of vigilantes with a security guard arrived at his apartment. K was then dragged out of his room and violently assaulted before being forced to kneel in front of a portrait of King Bhumibol. One man kicked his head as he was bowing to the ground. The assault was live streamed on Facebook.

Khaosod English reported that the human resources manager of the company K worked for gave his address to the vigilante mob although the manager advised the mob to go to the police.

The company fired K after learning about his alleged lèse majesté Facebook post.

There are no reports that any of the vigilantes face charges.