Police seek Interpol help in S112 hunt

Police seek Interpol help in S112 hunt

Police Maj Gen Apichart Suriboonya, head of Interpol Thailand. (Post Today photo)
Police Maj Gen Apichart Suriboonya, head of Interpol Thailand. (Post Today photo)

Police are seeking cooperation from Interpol to prosecute lese majeste offenders who take shelter overseas.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said the police were working with Interpol on legal action against the lese majeste suspects living overseas.

The operation will focus on those found to have produced content deemed in violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, from overseas and released it online.

Pol Gen Chakthip declined to provide further details about the operation.

"I have no idea what these lese majeste offenders are thinking," Pol Gen Chakthip said.

"For those who are in Thailand, if they don't want to live here [because they're dissatisfied with the monarchy] they can leave the country. If they don't have enough money to buy air tickets, I'm willing to pay for them."

The government has sought cooperation from seven foreign countries to which 19 lese majeste suspects are thought to have fled. It would like them extradited back to Thailand.

Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya claimed Wednesday the seven foreign countries has given a positive response, although he refused to give details.

He said the embassies of the countries contacted him directly after he wrote to them last week, asking for their cooperation on the requests to extradite the 19 suspects.

Gen Paiboon said the countries said they understood Thailand's situation and problems the country was facing but the extradition process might hit snags in international law.

The justice minister, however, said he was still hopeful about the chances of extradition, adding the government was reviewing laws relating to the issue.

Gen Paiboon refused to disclose the names of the countries, saying it is a sensitive issue and could affect international relations. The countries are the United States, Britain, Sweden, France, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The minister said it was necessary to create understanding and cooperation with foreign countries.

He added Thais should also refrain from sharing inappropriate posts and photos created by those suspects as attitude adjustment did not work on them.

"If we don't pay attention to content created by these people, they will gradually fade away from social media," he added.

The government's efforts to seek the extradition of those lese majeste suspects had failed for years, even from the countries which with the Thai government has good relationships.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed state agencies to study which countries Thailand had agreements on extradition with and which countries had cooperated on such requests in the past.

Lt Gen Sansern said the prime minister wanted all sides to acknowledge that Section 112 was a law designed to protect the royal institution.

The institution has never sued anyone for defaming the monarchy or royal family. The law was enacted to help protect the beloved and respectful institution given that it would rarely seek recourse to the courts itself, he said.


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