Thai royal death: ‘Social sanction’ urged against critics

Thai royal death: ‘Social sanction’ urged against critics

Thai women follow Buddhist prayers on their mobile phones outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok 16 OctoberImage copyright

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The death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej has led to outpourings of grief across Thailand

Thailand’s justice minister has asked people to take action against those who insult the monarchy following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Paiboon Koomchaya called for critics to be “socially sanctioned”, but stopped short of backing violence.

His comments come as videos of mob justice against those perceived as critics of the monarchy have emerged.

Criticism of the monarchy is considered a crime under Thailand’s lese majeste law, which carries long jail sentences.

“There is no better way to punish these people than to socially sanction them,” Paiboon Koomchaya told reporters on Tuesday.

Media captionKing Bhumibol: A monarch who remained an enigma

Sensitivities are running high as Thailand enters into a year of mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died last week after 70 years on the throne.

Videos circulating on social media have shown some royalists punishing people accused of failing to mourn properly.

One woman was forced to kneel in front of a portrait of the late king – surrounded by a jeering crowd – after she posted comments deemed insulting to the monarchy on Facebook.

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The king is highly beloved by Thais, many of whom regard him as semi-divine

A man was shown being pushed around by a mob and struck on the head. He was later forced to shout “I love the king” while onlookers punched and insulted him.

On Monday, an elderly woman was struck in the face after commuters forced her to leave a bus. “How could you insult the royal father? You shouldn’t have been born,” the person who assaulted her was heard shouting on the video.

Police later said the woman was mentally ill.

Last week, the government asked people to report cases of lese majeste to authorities and also asked internet service providers to monitor content and block inappropriate material.

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Street vendors in Bangkok are selling black T-shirts to mourners

The military government has also vowed to “pursue those people who violate the law”.

However they have also urged calm following recent incidents of mobs attacks.

People have been asked not to judge those who are not wearing mourning colours as some cannot afford to buy new clothes.

Image caption

The royal family tree

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