Influencers from controversial Lazada ad arrested on suspicion of lèse majesté

Yesterday, police arrested three Thai influencers on suspicion of lèse majesté – or insulting the monarchy – in relation to their role in a controversial Lazada advert which shocked the Thai nation last month. In Thailand, lèse majesté is a criminal offence punishable by 3 to 15 years for each count.

Police arrested the 3 influencers who starred in the advert yesterday. Police arrested Aniwat “Nara Crepe Katoey” Prathumthin at Don Muang Airport, arrested Thidaporn “Noo Rat” Chaokuwiang at her house and Kittikhun “Momdew Diary” Thamkittirat also at her house.

All 3 were arrested under Section 112 of the Criminal Code. Aniwat is also facing charges relating to the Computer Crimes Act. The 3 acknowledged their charges at the Central Investigation Bureau yesterday.

The controversial advert featured a skit in which Nara played the role of a daughter looking after her disabled mother, played by Noo Rat, who sat in a wheelchair. The advert was deemed offensive to both disabled people and Thailand’s royal family, a member of which uses a wheelchair.

The arrests followed a complaint made by activist Srisuwan Janya that the advert was critical of the monarchy and therefore broke Thailand’s lèse majesté law and the Computer Crimes Act.

Following widespread criticism online, the advertisement was removed from both TikTok and Lazada’s website shortly after it was launched. The hashtag #BanLazada began trending on Twitter almost instantly.

The Royal Thai Navy and Air Force both expressed their disapproval of Lazada’s advert and even banned Lazada vans from entering army premises.

Lazada issued a statement apologising for the advert…

“We fully recognise that the content was hurtful and demeaning to human dignity. As soon as we became aware of the incident, we immediately demanded the post to be taken down… Our brand does not condone the mockery of others including those with disabilities. It is absolutely unacceptable and a breach of Lazada’s value of being respectful and inclusive.”

All 3 influencers have been released on bail.

SOURCE: Prachatai

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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