Thai police ban book critiquing monarchy, citing national security threat

Pavin Chatchavalpongpun, image courtesy of Wikipedia

Royal Thai Police have prohibited the circulation of an upcoming book that scrutinises the nation’s monarchy. The prohibition was issued in response to the book’s perceived slander towards the royal institution, according to a police statement in the Royal Gazette.

The contentious publication, ‘Rama X: The Thai Monarchy under King Vajiralongkorn,’ both in its content and cover, is considered to express views that insult and defame the country’s royal family. Moreover, its material is found to pose a threat to national security and disrupt social tranquillity and morality. The edition harbours great malice towards the king, queen, crown prince or regent, as per the statement.

The public announcement, bearing the signature of National Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas, was published on June 19. It specified the prohibition of the book under Section 10 of the Printing Recordation Act BE 2550 (2007).

The notification emphasised that anyone found guilty of importing this book into Thailand shall be liable to a prison sentence of up to three years and/or a fine of up to 60,000 baht (approximately US$1,796). Furthermore, the police chief attains the right to destroy copies of the book, and the ban has immediate effect.

“My book has been banned despite the fact that nobody has read it,” was Pavin Chatchavalpongpun’s response to the prohibition, shared on his Facebook page. The 52 year old academic-in-exile also let out that the book shall hit the US market in October in both physical and digital formats.

Pavin, a professor at Kyoto University and the editor of ‘Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia,, spent 13 years serving the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to becoming a political science academic. He’s never shied away from expressing his criticism of the political establishment and has actively advocated for the reform of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese-majest√© law.

In 2012, he relocated his career to Japan and has since been a regular commentary voice on Thai affairs for international publications. When the 2014 military coup came into existence, he denied reporting to the authorities despite orders.

The National Council for Peace and Order, in response, put out an arrest warrant, which led to his ongoing life abroad due to his refusal to return to Thailand. His upcoming work is slated to be published by the Council on Southeast Asia Studies at Yale University in the United States, reported Bangkok Post.

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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