Govt petitions embassies over lese majeste fugitives

national October 20, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

3,157 Viewed

JUSTICE MINISTER Paiboon Koomchaya yesterday said he had signed letters to be sent to seven foreign countries where 19 Thai fugitives wanted on lese majeste charges were staying in the latest attempt to force their return to Thailand.



The letter would be sent to foreign countries via their ambassadors in Bangkok, Paiboon said.

The minister did not identify the 19 suspects, who he said were actively committing lese majeste offences. The letters specified where the fugitives lived, he said.

“I wish to notify those ambassadors for them to realise the fugitives’ inappropriate movement and to ask them to understand Thai people’s feelings,” Paiboon said.

Thailand understands that other countries do not have lese majeste laws, Paiboon said, but he would ask allies to understand people’s feelings. 

“Though they do not have the same laws, they may help by monitoring them so that they do not do anything to hurt the feelings of Thai people. Our move does not violate the sovereignty of those countries,” he said.

The letters were not the first effort by authorities to alert foreign countries about fugitives overseas, Paiboon said. 

Meanwhile, National police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said police had arrested more than 12 suspects, issued eight arrest warrants and were preparing to file two charges regarding lese majeste cases since the passing of HM the King last Thursday.

Police throughout the country have been instructed to step up enforcement regarding lese majeste offences, Chakthip said. Since October 13, of the eight who have arrest warrants, two have already been arrested,” Chakthip said.

Referring to people who posted lese majeste statements on social networks and fled to foreign countries, Chakthip said police were cooperating with foreign countries to bring them home to face justice.

Since the King’s death, there have been reports of posts on social networks that were perceived as lese majeste, inciting people who objected to the posts to mob the suspects’ homes and businesses. A woman in Surat Thani province was forced to prostrate herself before HM’s portrait after allegedly insulting the monarch. 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asked the public not to create disputes during the grieving period following the King’s death and refrain from drawing the late monarch into conflicts.

Government spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd quoted Prayut as saying that unity was now needed as much as possible. “Thailand needs security, the power of faith and love from all people in order to move on,” Prayut said.

Disputes would destroy the country’s image in the eyes of the foreign community, he added.

Sansern said he had been very upset to learn about insults to the monarchy as well as the retaliatory assaults.

 “I wish to request that people should keep inside their personal feelings if they go against those of people in general. Otherwise, they could face outrage that results in assaults.”

People who encounter improper behaviour should report it to security authorities, Sansern said, adding that people should refrain from forwarding insulting online posts.

The government and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) have teamed up to monitor around 100 people and more than 600 URLs that allegedly provided inappropriate content deemed insulting to the monarch and harmful to national security, said Deputy PM Prajin Juntong.

Authorities will also upgrade the Cyber Security Operation Centre to conduct 24-hour observation of indecent websites and information with implications for national security.