Online activity closely watched in Thailand

Online activity closely watched in Thailand
Anti-coup activist Sombat Boonngamanong is escorted by officers as he arrives at a military court yesterday.

THAILAND - Deputy Metropolitan Police chief Pol Maj-General Amnuay Nimmano said yesterday he would track down and arrest anybody who posts anti-coup messages on social media.

He said the Metropolitan Police was now cooperating with the Technology Crime Suppression Division to track down those who post anti-coup messages or phrases that might be seen as encouraging people to come out on the streets to protest against the junta.

He went on to say that these anti-coup messages violated Article 116 of the Criminal Code, adding that the first batch of arrest warrants against these people could be approved by the court in a few days.

He added that anybody sharing anti-coup messages would also be seen as violating the law and could face arrest. He went on to say that police had taken photographs of seven individuals who had held up three fingers in a symbolic gesture against the coup on June 7, and would seek arrest warrants for them.

Eye out for Thai expatriates

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said yesterday that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha had instructed the Thai Embassy in Cambodia to confirm reports that anti-coup activist Jakrapob Penkair was there.

Prayuth issued this assignment during a meeting with Thai envoys and senior Foreign Ministry officials on Wednesday. At the meeting, he asked the envoys to update governments of the countries in which they are posted on the situation in Thailand and assure them that the junta was doing everything to restore peace in the country.

Sek said Prayuth also asked the diplomats to monitor the activities of anti-coup individuals or groups in foreign countries, such as Jakrapob who often gives interviews to the Cambodian press. The activist was recently quoted as saying that he had set up an anti-coup movement to counter the junta.

The spokesman went on to say that Prayuth had called the Thai Embassy in London to attend the lecture of Verapat Pariyawong, who has refused to report after being summoned by the junta claiming he had been invited to give a lecture in the British capital.

Some cases can't be controlled

Regarding Chatwadee "Rose" Amornpat, whose comments in a YouTube clip have been deemed as insulting to the monarchy, Sek said the junta had already issued a summons for her.

However, he said Thai authorities could not bring her back for prosecution as she was now a British national through marriage.

Meanwhile, the military court yesterday approved the detention of red-shirt Sombat Boonngamanong for another 12 days at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

The detention period would run until June 23, extended from the seven days Sombat has already spent in military custody under martial law after his arrest last Thursday.

In court, Sombat said he objected to the military's detention request saying he had been cooperative and had promised not to incite unrest. He added that he had to also take care of his daughter.

Sombat, a heavy user of social media, faces charges of inciting unrest via the Internet and failing to report to the NCPO. Police will also look into Sombat's possible violation of the Computer Crimes Act.

Meanwhile, key members of the anti-Yingluck Shinawatra government People's Democratic Reform Committee along with leaders of the Students and People's Network for Thailand's Reform reported to the NCPO yesterday.

They included Issara Somchai, Uthai Yodmanee, Pibhop Dhongchai and Nussor Yeema.

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