Since about the time that the king was crown prince and began the nasty separtion from the then Princess Srirasmi in late 2014, there have been several spates of lese majeste cases against persons claimed to have been making profit from their real or alleged relationship to royals.
In August 2015, there were cases brought against four persons alleged to have made false claims about the monarchy, falsifying public documents, fraud, and impersonating officers from the Royal Household Bureau.
Prachatai reports that the military “have arrested a group of people in southern Thailand who are allegedly involved in a network making false claims about the monarchy for financial gain.”
The report states:
On 27 April 2017, soldiers arrested Nonglak B., a radio host from Thungsong District of Surat Thani Province after several individuals were arrested and taken to a local military base a day earlier for interrogation.
They were arrested for reportedly promising the 2017 ‘Thep Kinnari Award’, the award from Princess Sirindhorn given to people working towards preserving Thai arts and cultures, in exchange for money from those who wanted to receive the award.
At the same time, soldiers and police officers in Trang Province arrested Waraporn W., president of Women’s Cultural Club Under Royal Patronage, and Patthiya C. together with four other people under similar accusation.
Nonglak, Patthiya, and Waraporn were detained at a military base under Article 44. If these cases follow the earlier ones, these persons are likely to be accused of lese majeste.
We suspect there’s a lot more to this story than has been in the media. However, like the other alleged fraud-cum-lese majeste cases, little more is likely to be reported of them unless the media shows more tenacity in following the cases rather than just reporting the claims the regime feeds it.