Woman nabbed for disseminating coup news online

Woman nabbed for disseminating coup news online

Chayapa Chokpornbutsri is taken to a press conference on Tuesday after police arrested her on Monday on charges of starting a rumour about a
Chayapa Chokpornbutsri is taken to a press conference on Tuesday after police arrested her on Monday on charges of starting a rumour about a "second coup" on the social media. (Photo by Narupon Hinshiranan)

Technology Crime Suppression Division police have arrested a woman on charges of fabricating and disseminating news of a "second coup" on the social media, police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut said the woman, Chayapa Chokpornbutsri, 49, was taken from her house in Moo 3 village in tambon Bang Muang of Samut Prakan's Muang district on Monday by military officials from the 2nd Infantry Division for questioning under martial law.

Seven items of evidence were found in her possession including a notebook computer, a tablet, a video camera and mobile phones.

The Bangkok Military Court on Tuesday approved a warrant for her arrest.

The arrest followed a police and military investigation to find the poster of news that there would be another coup by the same group of people who staged the latest coup last year. The message had gone viral causing the public to panic.

Pol Maj Gen Siripong Timula, commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division, said technical checks revealed that the news text was first posted by a Facebook account holder by the name of "Chanisa B" from the house of Mrs Chayapa in Samut Prakan.

Apart from posting the "second coup" coup news, Mrs Chayapa was also found to have posted messages deemed insulting to the monarchy in violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crime Act.

Pol Maj Gen Siripong said Mrs Chayapa confessed to the charges. She admitted to have uploaded pictures of tanks being moved for further dissemination among the red shirts. The pictures were accompanied by a fabricated report that a ''second coup" was in the offing.

According to Pol Maj Gen Siripong, many other people were also involved. They were divided into three categories -- the masterminds or creatives, the operatives and the end receivers who may forward the messages received to other people. Mrs Chayapa was an operative.

Data extracted from her computers revealed that Mrs Chayapa had contacted a man called Jack who was in Australia.

According to a police record, Jack was in the same group as anti-government activist Manoon or Anek Chaichacha, alias Anek Sanfran, a suspect in the bombing of the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek.

Another contact of Mrs Chayapa was Chatwadee Amornpat, alias Rose, who was also wanted by police on lese majeste charges. All of them are now living abroad.

Asked whether the suspects had any connection with the old political power clique, Pol Maj Gen Siripong said the evidence indicated they were not linked to any particular political grouping.

Do you like the content of this article?

Religious refugees

Sixty-three Chinese nationals detained in Pattaya for overstaying their visas are members of a self-exiled Christian congregation seeking UN protection, supporters say.


Thailand records current account surplus of $1.3bn

Thailand recorded a current account surplus of US$1.3 billion in February, after a revised deficit of $2.1 billion in the previous month, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) said on Friday.


SET warns stock investors over Delta shares

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has issued a statement warning investors to exercise caution when trading shares of Delta Electronics Plc (Delta) after the price surged for three consecutive days to reach its all time high of more than 1,100 baht apiece on Friday.