Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has been informed about the case of “Miss Kai” (pseudonym), a 16-year-old highschool student in Surat Thani province who was asked by a plainclothes officer for talking and providing her personal information. She was also forcefully asked to sign an agreement promising to not share a Facebook post about the monarchy and the pro-democracy movement.
The incidence took place on Sunday 26 July 2020. Her father received a call from the Village Headman who told him that the police wanted to invite Miss Kai and her father for a meeting at his house. Upon arrival at the Village Headman’s house, one plainclothes officer who drove a Toyota Fortuner, with license plate no. 9 Gor Dor 7138 Bangkok, was awaiting them.
The officer told them about Miss Kai’s sharing of a post about King Rama X, which could be a breach of law. He was there to ask them to remove the post. The officer also inquired both of them about their personal information. Miss Kai refused to give her information and instead asked the officer about his rank and affiliation. The officer refused to give information about himself and made a threatening gesture by staring at her intensely as well as forcing her father to reveal the information about Miss Kai to him.
After the talk, the officer forced Miss Kai to sign an agreement written by hand without official seal of any sort. The officer did not give her a copy of the document. The agreement can be summarized as follows;
- Miss Kai acknowledges that the Facebook account mentioned by the officer belonged to her and she was the only person using the account and a statement “probably insulting to the monarchy” has been posted from the account.
- Miss Kai’s sharing of the post has stemmed from her ignorance. She agrees to have the post removed.
- Miss Kai promises to not repeat the offence. And if she repeats the act again, she would be willing to allow justice to take its course.
Both of Miss Kai’s parents were asked to sign their names as witnesses in the document. After that the officer took photo of Miss Kai and her father as evidence.
In the evening, Miss Kai’s mother was contacted by the same officer who told her to tell Miss Kai to remove more than a dozen of her posts about the recent pro-democracy demonstrations by the students, even though none of them was related to the monarchy. The police threatened that if she failed to do as instructed, he would use his connection to force her mother to resign as governmental officer. She therefore had to remove the posts.
Miss Kai concern and has no idea why she is the only target of the authorities. There are a number of people who share posts about the pro-democracy demonstrations. Miss Kai informs TLHR that the Facebook account from which she shares her posts about politics is set up on her real name and the posts have been set as public.
The case of Miss Kai demonstrates how “extrajudicial measures” have been used by government officers to threaten and intimidate people through their community or community leaders. This is more common in the province such as the case of Mr. Kittiphob Satidinitiwong, former MP candidate of the Future Forward Party (FFP) in the 2nd congressional district of Lampang and the case of Prasit Korntharote, a member of Liberal Assembly of Chiang Mai University for Democracy. Both of them have been approached via the Village Headmen as well.
Attempts to intimidate internet users who post about the monarchy have been ongoing since the middle of July. THLR have reported about three previous cases that happened almost at the same time (for more information, please read Combined forces raiding home of the poster of Tiwagorn’s photo wearing T-shit printed “I have lost faith in the monarchy” and taking him to police station and Student visited by police at home after sharing news about Tiwagorn and the triumphal arch in honor of the King, forced to sign a MoU promising not to post about the monarchy again)
Nevertheless, the police’s action in this case could not be considered lawful. Legally, the officer is required to identify himself, his rank and produce either a summon or an arrest warrant. In addition, the officer should only conduct the inquiry at the police station and must give a copy of the document signed to the person. (Read a basic guide on how to respond when invited by officers and forced to give information here)
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