Prayut vows lese majeste blitz

Prayut vows lese majeste blitz

PM slams bid to gain'unlimited democracy'

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha checked his watch Tuesday, then announced it's time for an all-out blitz on lese majeste and against those who defame the monarchy. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha checked his watch Tuesday, then announced it's time for an all-out blitz on lese majeste and against those who defame the monarchy. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has vowed to crack down on people who violate the lese majeste law, saying they are destroying the country in a bid for "unlimited democracy".

Gen Prayut said legal action will be taken against offenders under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.

The premier's vow came after arrest warrants were reportedly issued for people who have allegedly committed lese majeste offences recently.

Police chief Chakthip Chaijinda confirmed Tuesday that the arrest warrants are for police officers and civilians.

"Did they violate the law? If so, arrest warrants have to be issued for them. That's it," said Gen Prayut.

Gen Prayut added that even though several websites with lese majeste content had been shut down and numerous convicts given royal pardons, people still dishonour the royal institution.

"I don't understand what bad things the monarchy has done to them. These people have always destroyed history and the goodness of the country to pave the way to unlimited democracy. 

"Why does the public pay so much attention to this issue? Actually, I don't want lese majeste cases to become newspaper headlines. If offenders are accused of violating the lese majeste law, they have to fight it in court," he said. 

Meanwhile, Pol Gen Chakthip said officers will seek approval from the Bangkok Military Court to arrest and detain the suspects today. 

He said an investigation found that all of them had cited the monarchy to obtain benefits.

Pol Gen Chakthip added that details of the investigation will be handed over by the Royal Thai Police (RTP) soon.

He declined to disclose the names and total number of suspects but admitted that some are well-known.

Aside from the lese majeste charges, other charges under the Criminal Code will be also brought against offenders, Pol Gen Chakthip said. 

Their assets are now being examined by the authorities, he added.

A source at the RTP said the lese majeste charges could be against as many as 10 people. 

Pol Gen Chakthip said authorities are also questioning the eight police officers attached to the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), who were transferred to inactive posts on Sunday, to determine whether they violated Section 112.

On Friday, Pol Gen Chakthip set up a committee, led by assistant police chief Pol Lt Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, to look into alleged lese majeste offences ahead of the transfer of the officers.

The committee comprises 19 high-level officers from various police units.

Among the committee members is CIB commissioner Thitiraj Nhongharnpitak who was named deputy head of the team.

The committee must conclude its investigation as soon as possible and the results of the probe will be handed over to the RTP.

In another development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a lese majeste case against Noppawan Tang-udomsuk who allegedly posted lese majeste messages on a website.

The court ruled that the prosecution's evidence was questionable, and dismissed the case.

Ms Noppawan was not in court to hear the ruling.

The prosecution initially indicted Ms Noppawan in the Criminal Court on charges of insulting the monarchy and violating the Computer Crimes Act.

The charges came after she allegedly posted messages deemed to be offensive to the monarchy on the website on Oct 15, 2008.

The lower court had also dismissed the charges.

It ruled that the IP address and the telephone number used to connect to the internet to post the messages were not clearly identified as belonging to Ms Noppawan and there were no witnesses or evidence proving the defendant posted the messages.

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