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Foodpanda rider arrested on lèse majesté charges

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pHOTO: 玄 史生/Flickr

Recently, Foodpanda faced public backlash and calls to be boycotted after they said they planned to fire a rider who was branded a terrorist. Yesterday, the same rider was arrested in Pathum Thani, a central province near Bangkok, on lèse majesté charges, arson and violation of the Emergency Decree’s ban on gatherings.

The rider has been identified as 25 year old “Sittichok”. He is looking down the barrel of 15 years in prison if he is convicted under Section 112 of the penal code.

Sittichok was allegedly filmed pouring petrol on the base of a portrait of the king and then lighting it on fire.

Foodpanda had apologised for its earlier message saying the rider would be fired immediately. The company even released a statement saying it is not company policy to stop employees from expressing their opinions. They also said the rider’s actions were not an act of terrorism.

“We deeply apologize for upsetting and disappointing you over the incident. We will do our best to regain your trust in Foodpanda,” says the statement.

Sittichok was not the only person arrested from the recent protest, but possibly the only one charged with violating the lèse majesté law.  16 Other protesters have been arrested for violating the State of Emergency, 4 of whom are minors.

The United Nations has previously condemned Thailand’s“severe” use of lèse majesté law and the Human Rights Watch has accused Thailand of using the law to silence protesters. 1 aspect of the protestors ongoing demands is to abolish said law. Last January, a woman was sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating the lèse majesté law.

SOURCE: Coconuts Bangkok Thai PBS

 

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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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