Police deny search made of BBC Thai office in Bangkok

Police deny search made of BBC Thai office in Bangkok

The Thai office of the BBC was found locked and unoccupied, and their signs removed, on Wednesday. (AP photo)
The Thai office of the BBC was found locked and unoccupied, and their signs removed, on Wednesday. (AP photo)

Special Branch Police have denied the office of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Ploenchit Road, Bangkok, has been searched, but confirmed the Technology Crime Suppression Division is investigating the website.

The BBC Thai website and its Facebook page published a profile of His Majesty the King that angered royalists. The link to this specific report was blocked by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society.  

Pol Maj Gen Chayapol Chatchaidej, acting commander of the Special Branch Division 4, said inquiries had discovered no search made of the BBC Thai office, in the Maneeya Building, by police, soldiers or other security agency. 

However, the Technology Crime Suppression Division was investigating the website and would invite its administrator, translator and editor, and other people, to provide information regarding the publication of information deemed to breach Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, and the Computer Crimes Act.

This followed the expansion of the investigation and arrest of Jatupat "Pai Dao Din" Boonpattararaksa, an anti-junta activist, on lese majeste charges. A move rights groups said was the first such case during the reign of the new monarch.

Mr Jatupat, 25, is accused of sharing a link to the BBC Thai Facebook page profile of HM the King, who formally ascended the throne on Dec 1. Mr Jatupat was later released on bail. 

Pol Maj Gen Chayapol said police were also ready to investigate other websites that may act in violation of the law.

He suggested the public allow police to handle the case and not to share information that could be in breach of the law, and not to gather at the BBC Thai office.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon repeated his earlier statement that authorities had to do their duty and deal with issues violating the law, without exemption. 

Asking whether a legal case would be filed against the BBC, he said “What was wrong must be processed according to procedures. The officers checked the office of the news agency as they have to perform their duty.” 

Gen Prawit said though the news agency had its main office overseas it employed Thai people, so the issue would be investigated. 

The Thai office of the BBC was found locked and unoccupied, and their signs removed, on Wednesday.


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