May 26, 2022
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(Reuters) — An April Fool’s prank tweeted by employees at finances airline Thai Vietjet could result in legal fees after an activist lawyer filed a grievance with police alleging it had insulted Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Police will resolve later whether or not to pursue a legal case beneath strict “lese majeste” laws — which make defaming the monarchy punishable by as much as 15 years in jail — in opposition to employees of the airline.

Thai Vietjet’s official account tweeted on April 1 that the airline was launching a brand new worldwide route between the Thai province of Nan and Munich in Germany, which stirred on-line anger and threats of boycotts amongst ultra-royalists.

The offending tweet was later eliminated and the airline apologized the following day in a press release saying senior administration had not recognized concerning the tweet that marketed a “flight route between a province in Thailand and a metropolis in Europe, which led to many public reactions.”

The tweet didn’t point out King Vajiralongkorn, 69, who’s believed to spend a lot of his time in Germany, or his Nan province-born royal consort, Sineenat Wongvajiraphakdi.

The king granted Sineenat the title of royal consort shortly after his 2019 coronation. He had earlier within the yr married a member of his private bodyguard unit, who grew to become Queen Suthida.

Scholar-led protests lately have seen some activists brazenly criticizing the king for time spent exterior the nation, amongst different issues. Not less than 183 individuals have been charged with insulting the monarchy because the protests started in 2020.

Airline CEO Woranate Laprabang responded to the net royalist outrage by saying the employees accountable had been suspended pending an investigation.

“I want to apologize to the Thai individuals as soon as once more for such incident,” Woranate stated.

However lawyer and activist Srisuwan Janya filed a police grievance of royal insult and pc crimes, saying in a Fb submit that the tweet “confirmed intent to offend” and an apology was not sufficient.

Srisuwan is well-known in Thailand as a prolific filer of complaints with police, as soon as telling the Bangkok Publish he had counted over 1,000 filings together with for shopper fraud, corruption and environmental points. Reuters could not decide what number of of his complaints have led to prosecutions.

The police will take into account the grievance by reviewing “all of the information” referring to what occurred and “whether or not there was any legal intent,” Kissana Phathanacharoen, Thai deputy police spokesman, advised Reuters.

Thailand’s lese majeste laws have not too long ago come beneath criticism by some activists and opposition politicians, a daring transfer in a rustic that historically upholds the king as semi-divine and above criticism.

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