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PM representatives file police complaint against Thai singer and government critic

Maya Taylor

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Suthipong Thatpitakkul (left) with former PM, Abhisit Vejjajiva. PHOTO: Wikimedia/โดย Government of Thailand

Representatives of Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, have filed a police complaint against the Thai singer Suthipong Tadpitakkul, aka, “Heart”. Suthipong has criticised the government’s vaccine procurement plan, a move that has led to accusations of violating the Computer Crime Act and Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law.

The PM’s lawyer, Apiwat Kanthong, and his assistant minister, Seksakon Atthawong (aka “Rambo Isan”) yesterday filed a complaint with Nang Loeng police. According to the Bangkok Post, the complaint alleges that Suthipong shared a Facebook post containing information on the government’s vaccine procurement plan. The original post has since been deleted, but Apiwat says Suthipong’s is still there.

The PM’s representatives say not only has the singer not deleted the post, he has added comments to it, such as, “It is a vaccine of the boss” and, “It is a Covid-19 vaccine monopoly”. It is this wording that has led to allegations of lèse majesté, with Apiwat accusing the singer of insulting the highest institution.

Thailand’s lèse majesté law prohibits criticising, insulting or otherwise defaming the monarchy. The law allows for anyone to bring charges against anyone else and carries a sentence of up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Seksakon says a similar complaint was previously made against Suthipong, on that occasion with the Technology Crime Suppression Division. He says that, as a celebrity, the singer needs to be more careful with his words, adding that everyone reading his comments on Facebook knows what he is referring to.

The Bangkok Post reports that, in a subsequent Facebook post, Suthipong dismissed the complaint.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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