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Six Thais arrested over re-posting ‘fake news’

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A Cambodian man has been arrested in Phnom Penh this morning after allegedly posting fake news about comments allegedly made by the Thai PM.

Meanwhile, six Thais have been charged with crimes against the Thai Computer Crimes Act for disseminating fake news about junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha.

According to police, the suspects confessed to sharing a satirical piece of ‘fake’ news – in which Prayuth was quoted as telling people to fill up their cars with water instead of expensive gasoline – though they maintain that they’re unaware the news was not real.

Six Thais arrested over re-posting 'fake news' | News by Thaiger

The three men and three women met with Bangkok police yesterday to acknowledge the charges against them. They’re accused of violating the Computer Crime Act, which forbids importing “false information” to a computer system.

The six were released after questioning pending further investigation.

Six Thais arrested over re-posting 'fake news' | News by Thaiger21 year old Cambodian, Ratana Heng, arrested this morning. PHOTO: Tourist Police.

Lt. Col. Atilak Wangsiriworakul of the Technology Crime Suppression Division says “They admitted to sharing it. We will take their testimony into consideration.”

The article they reportedly shared was first posted on Ratstas.com, a website which routinely publishes fake news and ‘click bait’ style articles.

Khaosod English reports that in a May 23 post, published at the height of public discontent to the soaring gasoline price, the site quotes the PM saying motorists who complained should “stop being stupid” and simply fill up their tanks with water. The post, which was reported to still be online as of Wednesday afternoon, quickly circulated on social media before a government spokesman clarified that PM Prayut never made such a remark.

Police soon launched an investigation.

At a Wednesday news conference, investigators identified a Cambodian, Ratanak Heng, as the site’s administrator. Atilak said an arrest warrant was issued for the 21 year old Cambodian, Ratana Heng, and that police would seek his extradition from Cambodia.

Since the May 2014 coup, authorities have taken swift legal action against satirists and hoax news websites that have defamed the NCPO.

SOURCES: Khaosod English, Bangkok Post

 

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