Thai teen faces extended stay in juvenile facility due to royal defamation charge

Photo via Bangkok Post.

A Thai teen is facing an extended stay in a juvenile facility due to a royal defamation charge. The Central Juvenile and Family Court has become involved in the case involving a 15 year old girl who has been held in a juvenile facility for over 40 days.

The court said yesterday that the girl’s mother neglected to attend her bail hearing, causing her prolonged detention in the facility. The girl in question, Thanalop Phalanchai, known as “Yok,” has been detained at the Ban Pranee Juvenile Vocational Training Centre for Girls in Nakhon Pathom.

On March 29, Yok was brought to court and charged with royal defamation, under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, relating to the lèse majesté law. It was reported that the Phra Ratchawang police arrested her on charges of live-streaming herself spray-painting graffiti on a Temple of the Emerald Buddha wall on March 28, in clear breach of the lèse majesté law.

Last year, when she was only 14 years old, Yok faced similar allegations. In addition, she also faces charges of violating Section 368 of the Criminal Code and Section 4 of the Advertisement by Using Sound Amplifiers Control Act 1950, Bangkok Post reported.

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The court has stated that after Yok failed to comply with police summon requests on February 2 and February 15, investigators sought an arrest warrant for her. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights informed the police that Yok was unable to attend the meetings as she was preparing for a Mathayom 4 (Grade 10) entrance exam.

Police were asked to reschedule the appointment for April 9 at 10am. Nonetheless, Yok was found participating in activism near the United Nations Office on February 18, suggesting that she was attempting to gain more time.

As a result, the court issued an arrest warrant for Yok under Section 66 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 67 of the Juvenile and Family Court and Procedure Act 2010.

The court established a legal advisory team for Yok while debating her arrest in court. Unfortunately, neither of her parents were present for the proceedings. A temporary guardian was in attendance, as Yok’s mother was reportedly ill.

Given that Yok appeared to live with her mother, the court could not release her. Under Section 73 of the Juvenile and Family Court and Procedure Act, a child cannot be released to someone with whom they don’t reside.

Individuals connected with the girl could seek her release under Section 106 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Yok’s charges sparked a demonstration at the Samranrat police station on May 10. The station was spray-painted and its doors were smashed by the protesters.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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