PHUKET: A man was charged with lese majeste early this morning after several hundred angry people gathered in front of his shop in Samkong to protest against his negative social media posts regarding His Majesty the King on Thursday.
By 8pm last night, about 20 people had gathered in front of Suthee Arammetapong’s soymilk shop looking for him. As users share information on social media via Facebook posts and live videos, the incident went viral and by 1am, about 500 angry people had gathered outside the shop.
Initially, the group was supposed to meet outside Mr Suthee’s shop on Thursday, but he was picked up by the police who released him without pressing any charges. This reportedly riled the group up even more.
As the mob grew larger, 30 police and military officers were dispatched to guard the shop and discourage any violence. Phuket Provincial Police Commander Teeraphol Thipjaroen arrived at the shop at about 1:15am and urged the crowd to remain calm.
“We quickly acted on the case and did our duty within the boundaries of the law,” Gen Teeraphol addressed the people. “If you think he has done something unlawful, go to the police station to file a complaint, so we can follow up on the case.”
Additionally, former Rassada Mayor Suratin Lian-udom, alongside Gen Teeraphol, asked the angry mob to refrain from violence and follow rules and regulations.
“We all love our King. However, follow the laws and I will join you in filing a complaint at Phuket City Police Station,” said Mr Suratin.
The mob calmed down and proceeded to the police station. Mr Suthee was charged with lese majeste and with contravening the Computer Crimes Act.
The crowd was satisfied with the charges brought against Mr Suthee and left.
“We will collect more evidence and issue a summons as soon as possible,” Gen Teeraphol added.
— Kritsada Mueanhawong