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Bail denied for lese majeste suspect

A female alleged lese majeste offender, who was arrested on Friday at Hat Yai Airport in Songkhla while trying to leave the country, was denied bail yesterday.

Police insisted yesterday that further investigations are needed and the court fearing she might flee if granted bail.

Pornthip Munkhong, 26, is a social activist and a former member and director of Prakaifai Acting Troupe which staged a play that allegedly defamed the monarchy last October to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the October 14, 1973 popular uprising.

She was arrested at the airport on Friday while trying to board a flight to Malaysia.

She was believed to be eventually heading to Australia with a one-year working visa. She reportedly tried to disguise herself as a Muslim woman at the airport.

Pornthip, who directed the play "A Wolf's Bride", denied having committed the lese majeste offence.

Her Bt500,000 bail posted by Pavinee Chumsri, a lawyer from the Centre of Lawyers for Human Rights, was rejected yesterday despite the lawyer insisting that the accused had no intention of escaping.

Actor arrested in Khon Kaen

She will be detained for 12 days, subject to the Criminal Court's reconsideration after the period.

Lese majeste offenders face a maximum imprisonment term of 15 years.

Earlier this week, an actor from the same group in Khon Kaen province was arrested for lese majeste.

Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, a student at a famous university in Khon Kaen province was arrested and denied bail.

The court said Patiwat had acted in the play in front of many people in a way that was believed to have defamed the monarchy and there was a risk he might flee the country if granted bail.

The play was staged at Thammasat University's Main Auditorium last October.

In a related development, the Thai Students Centre for Democracy issued a statement on Friday condemning the authorities for delaying Patiwat access to a lawyer and her relatives.


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