Woman faces lese majeste charge pending mental examination

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Woman to face royal insult charge pending mental examination
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung today confirmed police would charge a woman accused of insulting the monarchy if she was found to be sane in a mental status examination.

“I confirm police will take legal action,” he said, dismissing speculation about police inaction.

Last Friday, Thitinan Juntaranont, a 63-year-old Thai expatriate resident of New Zealand, allegedly made improper gestures towards an image of the King displayed at the multi-colour shirt rally during the Constitution Court verdict session on charter change.

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Policemen promptly intervened to escort her from the scene, though they refused to press charge on grounds of suspected insanity.

However yesterday Metropolitan Police deputy commander Pol Maj-General Anuchai Lekbumrung said a team has been assigned to look into the allegations.

A number of activists had stepped forward to criticize police for drawing a hasty conclusion before sending the accused for psychological evaluation.

On Tuesday, following the spread of messages via social media sites, a number of Thais rallied at Suvarnabhumi Airport in a bid prevent Thitinan from boarding a flight to Auckland.

Police subsequently clarified that Thitinan had been admitted to the Galya Rajanagarindra Institute to undergo mental tests.

The lèse majesté law allows for a maximum 15-year sentence for every conviction.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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