Royalists Urge Police to Prosecute Chiang Mai Woman for Lese-Majeste

 | Wed 1 Oct 2014 22:37 ICT

CityNews – A group of Chiang Mai royalists have urged police to prosecute a local woman who allegedly posted statements defaming the monarchy on Facebook.

Photo: Weerasak Panyachod.

Around 10 members of the group, led by Krit Yiammethakorn, reported to Chiang Mai provincial police station on Monday morning to lodge a complaint.

They carried pro-monarchy signs and urged the police to investigate Roongnapha Kampichai, who works at a private hospital, for lese-majeste.

The royalist group, which has around 18,000 members on Facebook, believed that as Thais and Chiang Mai people they should respect and protect their beloved royal family, Krit said. This would send a message that Chiang Mai people love the country and the King.

Mattana Ammeelap, from Rayong province, said she found the offensive messages on Facebook and travelled to Chiang Mai to join the local royalists in urging police to investigate. She could not let people dishonour the beloved monarchy, she added.

Roongnapha claimed that someone else had posted the messages after setting up a fake Facebook account in her name. The police enquiry would allow her to prove her innocence, she said.

Human rights groups have expressed concern about the increasing number of lese-majeste cases since the May 22 coup. At least 15 people have been charged with lese-majeste, or defaming the monarchy, since then, according to reports.

“The threat of the use of the lese-majeste laws adds to the chilling effects on freedom of expression observed in Thailand after the coup, and risks curbing critical debate on issues of public interest,” the United Nations’ human rights office said in a statement in August.