Saturday, 24 October 2015

Fortune-teller involved in organising ‘Bike for Dad’ detained for lèse majesté

Prachai reports that a military court has detained three lèse majesté suspects accused of making false claims about the monarchy for personal benefit, one of whom is a well-known fortune-teller involved in organising the ‘Bike for Dad’ event.

At around 3 pm Wednesday, 21 October 2015, the police officers brought Suriyan Sutjritpolwongse, aka Mo Yong, a well-known fortune-teller, Jirawong W., his close associate, and Pol Maj Prakrom W., an inspector in the Technology Crime Suppression Division, to the Military Court of Bangkok to request permission to remand the three in custody.

The three are accused by the Thai military under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for falsely claiming making false claims about Thai monarchy for personal benefit.

At 3:20 pm, the military court remanded the three lèse majesté suspects in custody.

For the first pre-trial custodial period, they will be held for 12 days at the remand facility in the 11th Army Division in Nakhon Pathom Province, west of Bangkok, with the possibility of the custody period being renewed with the approval of the military court.  

Police officers and a commando unit maintained tight SECURITY in front of the military court as the three suspects were brought in.

According to Matichon Online, Pol Lt Gen Sriwara Rangsipramanakul , the Assistant Police Chief now heading a 19-member investigative team on lèse majesté cases which was established especially for this case, said that the three pleaded guilty.

Sriwara mentioned that during interrogation the three suspects also alleged the involvement of eight police officers in the Central Investigation Bureau. The identities of the eight are being kept confidential. They were transferred from their posts in the police force earlier this week.

The officer told the media that more arrest warrants will be issued for suspects in the case.

The head of the lèse majesté investigation team added that the three had been committing crimes for more than two months before their arrests and that they would be charged for more than one count each under the lèse majesté law, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment for each offense.

Suriyan is an advisor to the publicity committee of the upcoming ‘Bike for Dad’ event, a cycling rally to honour HM the King, which will take place around the King’s birthday on 5 December.

In August, Suriyan was involved in the organisation of ‘Bike for Mom’, a cycling event to honour HM the Queen on 16 August 2015, where cyclists joined Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and other members of the Royal Family to cycle around Bangkok and in other parts of the country.

On 16 October 2015, Naewna News Online, reported a rumour that Suriyan had been arrested at his house by police officers on allegations of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.

There were rumours that he was being held incommunicado by the military as he disappeared from public. 

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