29 May 2015

“Police are investigating and preparing to take criminal action...”

Chosun Media

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be charged under the lèse-majesté law after he implied to a South Korean newspaper that privy councillors were behind the 2014 coup against his sister, Yingluck. A short video clip from the interview was shared widely on social media this week. A lèse-majesté charge was filed against him today on behalf of army chief Udomdej Sitabutr, on the basis that privy councillors are advisors to the King, and that Thaksin was therefore implicating the monarch in politics.

Thaksin’s regular and diplomatic passports were both revoked by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 27th May, in a preemptive decision pending a police investigation into lèse-majesté, defamation of the Privy Council, and violation of the Computer Crime Act. According to a statement from the ministry: “Police are investigating and preparing to take criminal action against him”. (Thaksin presumably did not upload the video clip online himself, making a Computer Crime conviction seemingly unlikely.)

Thaksin’s comments to The Chosun Daily (조선일보) on 21st May were similar to previous interviews he has given. On 20th April 2009, he told the Financial Times that the Privy Council plotted the 2006 coup, and he said the same thing to Tom Plate in Conversations with Thaksin. He has also publicly accused Prem Tinsulanonda, Privy Council leader at the time, of being the mastermind behind the coup.