Airport On Alert For Lese Majeste Suspects
(15 April) Officials at Bangkok's international airport have been told to look out for Redshirts activists accused of insulting the monarchy.
Immigration officers and other officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport will be looking for Mr. Wuttipong Kochthammakul and Mr. Ekkaphob Lueara, lest any of the suspects attempts to enter and depart from the airport, said Pol.Maj. Wisit Chamnarnprai, director of the airport's immigration police, in a letter circulated among the officials.
"If [any of them] are found, the officers must inform their supervisors without delay," the letter stressed.
Both men are wanted on charges of lese majeste (insult of the monarchy) under the Article 112 of Thai Criminal Codes, and they have not been seen in public since the charges were pressed against them.
Mr. Ekkaphob was accused of defaming the monarchy after he appeared on a pro-government rally stage in Rajamangala Stadium in November 2013, while Mr. Wuttipong, aka Ko Tee, was charged with the offence following his interview with a Vice News reporter, which was published last week.
In the interview, Mr. Wuttipong, who is generally regarded as a "hardcore" Redshirts leader, could be seen speaking of His Majesty the King in a negative way. He appeared to be aware that his comments were given on-record.
Remarks deemed offensive toward the Royal Family are punishable by up to 15 years in prison per offence. Many anti-government protesters, who view the Redshirts as anti-monarchy republicans, have called upon the government to prove its allegiance to the monarchy by swiftly prosecuting Mr. Wuttipong and Mr. Ekkaphob.
It is not clear whether Mr. Wuttipong and Mr. Ekkaphob are still residing in Thailand. Pol.Lt.Gen. Kamronwit Thoopkrachang, director of the Bangkok Metropolitan Police, has urged Mr. Wuttipong to surrender himself to the police to fight the allegation in the courts.
"It will be a benefit to himself," Pol.Lt.Gen. Kamronwit said.
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