Prawit threatens BBC Thai with lawsuit

Prawit threatens BBC Thai with lawsuit

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has vowed to take legal action against the BBC Thai website for a controversial online profile regarding the new King.

Gen Prawit said on Tuesday he has ordered authorities to investigate the matter. "Anyone who has broken the law and caused damage must be dealt with," he said.

Asked whether the government will seek cooperation from foreign news agencies which have presented issues regarding the monarchy, Gen Prawit said authorities have been monitoring them and checking which reports are incorrect. The BBC Thai report has angered royalists.

The BBC Thai office is at the Maneeya Building on Ploenchit Road in Bangkok. BBC Thai has been closed since Friday, when the online report was released.

The Bangkok Post  on Tuesday attempted to contact BBC Thai representatives but as of press time last night had not received a reply.

The BBC launched BBC Thai on Facebook in August 2014 following the coup in May that year. Last month it introduced the BBC Thai website.

A security source at the Technology Crime Suppression Division under the Royal Thai Police said the division was gathering evidence regarding the BBC Thai report, which could be deemed to violate Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, and the Computer Crime Act.

Police on Saturday arrested a well-known anti-junta activist on lese majeste charges in what rights groups said was the first such case in the reign of the kingdom's new monarch.

Jatupat "Pai Dao Din" Boonpattararaksa, who has staged several anti-junta protests and held a hunger strike while in custody last year, was arrested at a temple in his home province of Chaiyaphum, said Pol Col Jaturon Trakulpan, a superintendent with the provincial police.

Mr Jatupat, 25, is accused of sharing a link on Facebook to the BBC Thai profile of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who formally ascended the throne on Dec 1.

After Mr Jatupat was charged, he was released on bail on Sunday.

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