A factory worker in Thailand faces 37 years in prison if proven guilty of insulting the King’s dog. The royal dog, Tongdaeng or Copper, was referred to as “khun” or a “ma’am” in Thailand.
Thanakorn Siripaiboon was arrested for making a derogatory social media post about Copper, pet dog of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, The New York Times reported. The mongrel was adopted by the King. He loves the dog so much, he even wrote a book about her. The book was a bestseller in Thailand and Copper has since been widely respected. Thais use “ma’am” to address the dog.
Siripaiboon also faces charges of sedition and insulting the king. The exact insult made by Siripaiboon could not be publicly divulged, according to his lawyer Anon Numpa. The attorney said that his client’s crimes were considered “lese-majeste.”
“Lese-majeste” dates back to 1908, The Telegraph reported. The law entails that anyone who defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent will be punished up to 15 years. In the present Thailand constitution, the law states,“The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action,” as quoted by The Telegraph.
A lot have already been jailed by virtue of “Lese-majeste.” A Swiss national was sentenced to 10 years in jail for vandalizing pictures of the King in 2007, according to The Telegraph. An elderly aged 61 years old was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2011. He was found guilty of proliferating text messages that were insulting to the queen. A member of Thailand’s own parliament was jailed after making insulting remarks against the royalty. A journalist was jailed for writing two articles offensive to the royal family this year. YouTube was once banned in Thailand.
Thanakorn could face 37 years in prison, according to Anon. “I never imagined they would use the law for the royal dog. It’s nonsense,” the attorney was quoted as saying by The New York Times.