Charged with bowing, saying ‘Long live the King’ in mockery

A 58th person has been charged under Section 112 of the Criminal Code for paying respect to protesters wearing crop tops in an activity mocking King Rama X in January 2021.

Phawat taking a photo at Pathum Wan Police Station.

Phawat ‘Pocky’ Hiranphon, 37, went to hear charges against him at Pathumwan Police Station on the morning of 8 February. He denied the accusation and will submit documents to the police by 25 February. The case will be submitted to the prosecutor on 1 March.

The charge was filed by Acting Sub Lt Narin Sakcharoenchaikun), a member of Thai Pakdee, a pro-monarchy group who filed a similar charge against Anon Nampa for his Facebook post of a letter to the King.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the investigator gave as the reason for the complaint to a cosplay activity at Siam Paragon on 20 December 2020, where Phawat was seen paying respect by bowing, giving a ‘wai’ (the Thai greeting) , saying 'Long live the King', and presenting flowers to Parit Chiwarak and Panussaya Sitthijirawattanakul, who cosplayed King Rama X and the Queen wearing crop tops.

The investigator alleges this was an act of mockery toward people paying respect to King Rama X.

Phawat is seeking evidence to file a complaint against Narin, as he sees the complaint as politically motivated and damaging to his reputation and income. Narin also is not the one offended by Phawat’s action.

Sasinan Thamnithinan, Phawat’s lawyer from TLHR, said this case is further proof of the problems with Section 112, because anyone can file a complaint against anyone and it is again being used for political motives.

Phawat started to show interest in politics in 2020 when Panupong Jadnok and Nutchanon Payakaphan were arrested for protesting against Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha in Rayong Province in July. Phawat was angry at the action by the police who said that they would ‘find the offences later’ after the arrest.

He said Section 112 is a law that undermines rights and liberty. It also damages the people who are accused so it has to be abolished.

According to THLR, at least 58 people have been charged under Section 112 in 44 cases. 23 cases were filed by ordinary citizens, 3 by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the rest by the police.

Source: 
prachatai.com/journal/2021/02/91581

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