Social posts prompt charges

Social posts prompt charges

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn, centre, at a press conference on the arrests of 18 social media users who allegedly disseminated fake news amid the Covid-19 crisis yesterday. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill
DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn, centre, at a press conference on the arrests of 18 social media users who allegedly disseminated fake news amid the Covid-19 crisis yesterday. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

A group of 18 social media users have found themselves in legal trouble over posts they made in relation to the Covid-19 situation and side-effects of the vaccines by the Ministry of Digital, Economy and Society (DES), the agency announced yesterday.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn stated during the press conference that unsubstantiated posts could provoke social unrest and ultimately threaten national security, which was why the ministry and police were bringing charges against the accused.

An investigation into the sources of a spate of posts concerning the country's fight against Covid-19 led to police officers arresting six suspects in Bangkok, Chon Buri and Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya for allegedly breaching the Computer Crime Act 2007, which carries a maximum of five years in jail and/or a fine up to 100,000 baht, as well as violating the Emergency Decree, which could result in two years behind bars and/or a fine of up to 40,000 baht.

Another 12 suspects who had been under the microscope in Bangkok, Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya, Suphan Buri, Ratchaburi, Udon Thani, Sakhon Nakhon, Surin and Ranong, were ordered to delete the content or face further action.

"I'd like to warn people to think twice before posting fake or distorted news on the internet, or else legal action will follow," warned Mr Chaiwut.

Meanwhile, Corrections Department Director-General Ayut Sinthoppan stated that news about the release of 38,000 prisoners to mark Her Majesty the Queen's birthday on June 3 was also untrue.

Mr Ayut said the reports were actually old news from many years ago, which had been distorted to appear recent.

He cautioned against forwarding the content and causing further confusion.

"The Corrections Department has a policy of rehabilitating, correcting and developing the behaviour of inmates. The process continues throughout the time inmates serve their sentences until they are released," he said.

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