Summons came late but 112 suspect will respond
Former pop star 'Heart' fingered by PM's aide 'Rambo' over vaccine comments
published : 9 Apr 2022 at 17:35
writer: Online Reporters
A former Thai pop singer and TV host says he fully intends to answer a royal defamation charge and will not flee, after a mix-up in which he received a summons to report to police six hours after the scheduled appointment.
Suthipongse “Heart” Thatphithakkul, 57, posted a video message together with a photo of the summons, issued on Jan 31, on his Facebook page on Friday evening. It asked him to come to the Nang Loeng police station before 10am on Friday to answer charges under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
The letter was delivered to him by a police officer, not a postman, at 3.45pm on Friday, he said.
“My lawyer had already talked to the police since we can’t turn back time,” Mr Suthipongse wrote. “We agreed that I’ll report to the police on April 27 at 10am, and the reason I’m posting this clip is to say that I’m not fleeing.”
He also questioned the timing of the police move to send the summons since it was issued more than two months ago.
In another message on Facebook on Saturday, he wrote that a second summons was delivered to his home via EMS (express mail service) at 9.30am, to confirm that he would report to the Nang Loeng station on April 27 at 10am.
The complaint against Mr Suthipongse was filed on May 13 last year by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s lawyer Apiwat Kanthong, and an aide to Gen Prayut, Seksakol “Rambo” Atthawong, after the singer posted messages criticising the government’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement plan on his Facebook page.
The messages read: “It is a vaccine of the boss” and “It is a Covid-19 vaccine monopoly”.
Anyone reading this would immediately know who Mr Suthipongse is talking about, Mr Apiwat said.
Some people thought these comments were intended to insult the high institution, said the lawyer.
On May 15, Mr Seksakol said the charge would be immediately withdrawn, if the lese majeste suspect could prove that he is loyal to the institution.
Under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, anybody can file a charge against anyone and police are obliged to investigate.
It mandates up to 15 years in prison for each instance of defaming, insulting or threatening the king, queen, heir apparent or regent.
According to statistics compiled by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), at least 127 people were facing lese majeste charges as of the end of 2021. Most were charged in connection with the youth-led pro-democracy rallies that began in mid-2020. Many featured public calls for reform of the monarchy.