Thai advert authors arrested over alleged royal family parody
Bangkok, Jun 16 (EFE).- Thai Police arrested three authors of an advertisement that allegedly parodies the royal family made for the Lazada e-commerce portal, a subsidiary of Chinese giant Alibaba, defense sources reported.
Aniwat Prathumthin, Thidaporn Chaokuwiang and Kittikhun Thamkitirat were interrogated for having allegedly violated Article 112 of the country’s Criminal Code, known as the royal defamation law. It carries penalties of three to 15 years in prison for those who offend the monarchy, the NGO Thai Lawyers for Human Rights told EFE.
The organization, which represents the three detainees, said Aniwat was also accused of violating the computer crime law for the advertisement, launched in May, which provoked a campaign by ultra-monarchist groups, who claim it was a parody of The Royal Family.
The defendants are well known in Thailand for their videos on YouTube and Facebook and were hired by Lazada, one of the largest operators in Southeast Asia, for an advertising campaign on social media platform TikTok.
The influencers created a video in which a woman appears who ultra-monarchists say resembles Princess Chulabhorn, King Vajiralongkorn’s little sister.
The woman appeared in an elegant dress and, like Chulabhorn, was in a wheelchair.
In early May, the Thai Army began a boycott against Lazada and banned its 245,000 troops from using the platform, after accusing it of “offending” the royal family and the Thai people and said the ban as a way to “protect the institution.”
The company for its part apologized for the controversial videos, which were heavily criticized by followers of the monarchy on social media.
Thai authorities zealously protect the monarchy, although the institution has lost popularity among Thais after the death of King Bhumibol in 2016 and the pro-democracy protests of 2020 and 2021. EFE