Asia - Pacific

27 pursued for lese majeste since Thai king's death

Thailand has harshest lese-majeste law in the world, and authorities extra vigilant since death Oct. 13 of king

11.11.2016
27 pursued for lese majeste since Thai king's death

By Arun Saronchai

BANGKOK

Thai police said Friday that they are pursuing prosecutions against 27 people deemed to have insulted the royal family since the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The country has the harshest lese-majeste law in the world, and since the Oct. 13 death authorities have been extra vigilant in pursuing anyone deemed to not be paying respect.

Police spokesman Kritsana Pattanacharoen told reporters that since King Bhumibol had passed away, police are working on 27 cases.

"Of the 27 cases we have caught ten people and are monitoring 17 more," he said.

iLaw, a legal monitoring group, told Anadolu Agency Friday that the number of cases has spiked significantly since Bhumibol died.

Many of those arrested are accused of posting insulting comments about the monarchy on social networks or of having behaved offensively.

The police chief has said that foreigners who insult the monarchy should get out of the country.

"I don't care if I go into debt, I'll pay for all their plane tickets to leave," Chakthip Chaijinda said.

Section 112 of the Thai criminal code punishes those who “insult, defame or threaten the king, the queen, the heir or the regent” with jail terms between three and 15 years.

The official period of mourning for the king is expected to last up to a year.

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