Park activist wanted for lese majeste

Park activist wanted for lese majeste

NCPO downplays fears over detainee

A group of students call on the government to tackle the alleged corruption involving the Rajabhakti Park. (Photo by kitja Apichonrojarek)
A group of students call on the government to tackle the alleged corruption involving the Rajabhakti Park. (Photo by kitja Apichonrojarek)

Police are hunting a second man accused of using Facebook to share an infographic detailing the alleged web of corruption in the Rajabhakti Park scandal.

A warrant for the arrest of 25-year-old Thanet Anantawong was approved by the military court yesterday. He faces charges of lese majeste, inciting disorder and computer crimes.

According to police, Mr Thanet was among a group of student activists who attempted to visit Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin on Monday, but were intercepted by military officers.

The group were on a train from Bangkok when they were stopped at a railway station in Ratchaburi province. Soldiers disconnected their carriage from the rest of the train bound for Hua Hin.

The warrant for Mr Thanet was issued after police earlier arrested Thanakorn Siriphaibun, who they said posted the same diagram on the Facebook page of a red shirt group.

It came as Maj Gen Wijarn Jodtaeng, the legal chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, and Col Burin Thongprapai, an officer in the Judge Advocate-General’s Department, lodged a complaint against Mr Thanakorn at the Crime Suppression Division.

Mr Thanakorn, a 27-year-old Samut Prakan resident, is facing the same charges as Mr Thanet.

Col Burin said yesterday Mr Thanakorn would attend a military court hearing tomorrow, downplaying fears from rights groups that he was another victim of "enforced disappearance".

"He is under military custody," Col Burin said. "He is well and in good condition."

Mr Thanakorn's whereabouts had been unknown for several days, and Human Rights Watch yesterday added to growing calls for the government to "immediately disclose" his location. “Thanakorn’s secret detention should set off flashing red lights — especially since the Thai authorities failed to resolve two recent deaths of detainees in military custody,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

The chart at the centre of the case allegedly involves the royal institution indirectly because it includes references to Suriyan “Mor Yong” Sucharitpolwong — the well-known fortune teller charged with lese majeste who recently died in military custody.

The infographic also allegedly implicates Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his wife. Gen Prayut has denied any wrongdoing.

CSD officers said they are working with the Technology Crime Suppression Division to determine the real name of a person who opened the Facebook Page where the controversial chart was posted.

Investigations show more than 20 people administered the page, while more than 100 people allegedly shared it.

The Facebook page has more than 65,000 followers. Among them are Thammasat University student Sirawith Seritiwat, who led the group involved in the foiled Rajabhakti Park trip, and his lawyer Anon Nampha. The Facebook page has reportedly asked followers to withdraw their association with it before it is shut down.

The British ambassador to Thailand, Mark Kent, has said he is prepared to talk with the Foreign Ministry after a tweet regarding the incident caused controversy.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said on Wednesday he was considering whether Mr Kent should be summoned.

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