Anti-junta historian faces cybercrime charge for sharing fake news

Former Thammasat University rector says he will fight the case if the police accuse him of sharing fake news about the purse of Prayut’s wife.
 
On 17 January 2018, Pol Col Olarn Sukkasem from the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) revealed that he had received an order to prosecute those who publicly share on Facebook the fake news that Naraphon Chan-o-cha, wife of the junta’s leader Prayut Chan-o-cha, carried a luxurious brand name handbag during the visit to the US. This news led to a call for corruption investigation among Thai netizen. 
 
The fake post alleged that Naraphon used a two-million-bath Hermes purse while it is, in fact, a product of Thailand’s Royal Folk Arts And Crafts Center and costs not more than 10,000 baht. Therefore, those who shared the post violated the Computer Crimes Act for disseminating forged computer data that likely to cause damage to the third party, the police said.
 
On 11 January, many people, including renowned historian Charnvit Kasetsiri, shared the post on his Facebook. He later admitted to the media that he does not know the real brand of the handbag. And his intention was merely to share his observation that Thai political elites tend to have an expensive taste.
 
“This case reflects the image of Thai elites. I want to stress my innocent intention of expression, and I’m willing to fight the case through the system,” The Standard quotes Charnvit as saying.
 
Prachatai cannot confirm that, among many people who shared the fake news, the police specifically target Charnvit as reported by other media.
 
 
 Charnvit Kasetsiri (Photo from Charnvit’s Facebook account)

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