Daily Management Review

'Sarcastic' Internet Post Insulting Thai King's Dog in Places Him for Potential Prison


12/15/2015




'Sarcastic' Internet Post Insulting Thai King's Dog in Places Him for Potential Prison
A factory worker in Thailand is being investigated for mocking the king’s dog. The same person is facing up to 37 years in jail for insulting the military rulers pf the country.
 
According to the strict lèse-majesté laws in Thailand it is a crime to criticize, defame or insult members of the royal family. People can be imprisoned for upto 15 years if they are found guilty of doing so.
 
Charges were levied against Thanakorn Siripaiboon with making a “sarcastic” internet post about Tongdaeng, or Copper by a military court. Tongdaeng, or Copper is a much-loved street mongrel rescued by King Bhumibol Adulyadei from an alley.
 
Tongdaeng is a household name as it is praised for her loyalty and obedience. A book was written by the king himself about her and illustrated the book as well as an animated film which was made this year. It is titled, Khun Tongdaeng: The Inspiration and is second in the box office. “Khun” is a Thai term of respect.
 
The International New York Times quoted Thanakorn’s lawyer, Anon Numpa, as saying that the military had not detailed the precise insult towards the animal.
 
“I never imagined they would use the law for the royal dog. It’s nonsense,” he said.
 
The printed of the International New York Times in Thailand left a blank space where the story should have appeared as it did not want to publish an article on the dog on Tuesday since the topic is very sensitive in the country.
 
This is the fourth time this year the printer has refused to publish International New York Times articles on Thailand as the space for any discussion of those in power in the south-east Asian nation shrinks. Earlier in the year the printer had refused to print a story that simply discussed the flagging economy.
 
Since Thailand’s arch-royalist generals seized power from the elected government in May 2014, the use of and convictions under the Lèse-majesté (injured majesty) law have surged. A military court has imprisoned a man for 30 years for insulting the monarchy on Facebook. 
 
In recent times, the government, which has cracked down on dissidents by detaining academics, journalists and politicians for “attitude adjustment” and it is not clear if the uptick in the cases comes from the palace or the government. “Attitude adjustment” is a programme the junta uses to interrogate opponents.
 
Last week, charges of sedition was placed against Thanakorn after he shared allegations of corruption in the military’s construction of a park monument on Facebook. He was held incommunicado until Monday.
  
Many Thais look back to a time where the king himself encouraged dissent even as the present junta government is using lèse-majesté against critics. The encouragement included a birthday speech in 2005 when the king had said he should be criticized as he is human.






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