A man was arrested in Chiang Mai today, and charged under article 61 of the Referendum Act. Samat Kwanchai could not afford the 100,000 baht bail set by the court, so he is being held in custody awaiting trial.
The Act was passed in April, and restricts campaigns for or against the 7th August referendum on the junta's proposed new constitution. Article 61 states that "anyone who publishes text, images or sound... that is either untruthful, harsh, offensive, rude, inciting or threatening, with the intention that voters will either not exercise their right to vote, or vote in a certain way" will face up to ten years in jail.
Samat printed flyers containing the words "เผด็จการจงพินาศ ประชาธิปไตยจงเจริญ" ("Down with dictatorship, victory for democracy"), and also featuring a drawing of a three-finger salute, which has been used as an anti-coup symbol. His house was raided by sixty police officers and soldiers, who confiscated hundreds of the flyers.
Samat is the second Chiang Mai resident to be arrested this month for campaigning against the charter. A woman was arrested in the city for wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "ตึงบ่ะเอา" ("I reject that"). Also this month, members of the New Democracy Movement were arrested after police found anti-charter leaflets in their car.