Police expect to file charges against Charnvit Kasetsiri, a noted historian and ex-rector of Thammasat University, by early next week after he misidentified a purse of the junta premier’s wife.
Pol Colonel Olarn Sukkasem, a superintendent of the Technology Crime Suppression Division, said that the police are now gathering evidence to file a charge against Charnvit for allegedly breaking the Computer Crime Act’s Article 14.
The law hands out imprisonment of up to five-years or a Bt100,000 fine against anyone convicted of disseminating “dishonest or fraudulent” information into a computer system in ways likely to cause damage to people.
On January 11 and January 15, Charnvit shared two online articles via his Facebook account, commenting on a purse that Naraporn Chan-o-cha carried when she accompanied her husband, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, on a trip to the White House last October.
The first post he shared suggested that the purse might be a million-baht luxury purse, in addition to other comments about it.
The other post he shared, however, was an article in which he corrected his earlier post, noting that Naraporn’s purse was actually made of a domestic fabric and cost only about Bt1,000.
Both of Charnvit’s posts triggered online criticism of both Naraporn and the Prayut-ruled government.
Charnvit then said that while he is not a luxury-goods expert, he stood by his comments that it is very common practice for elites to own luxury items.
“This case reflects the ‘Thainess’ of Thai elites,” he said. “I stand by my honesty in making comments and am willing to fight in a [legal] procedure.”
Although being a frequent commentator on the roles of Thai elites, the 76-year-old historian and professor usually writes short posts on his Facebook status, nothing likely to prompt a prosecution against him – until