Prosecutor drops case against couple not standing for royal anthem in cinema

The public prosecutor has decided to drop a lèse majesté case against Chotisak Onsoong and his friend who did not stand up for the royal anthem in a Bangkok cinema in 2007.

Wisit Sukyukhon, a public prosecutor, sent a letter on 11 April this year to Pathumwan police who first took up the case, to inform them about the decision.

On 20 Sept 2007, at a cinema in the Central World shopping complex in downtown Bangkok, Chotisak, 26, and his female friend, whose name is withheld, had a heated argument with Navamintr Witthayakul, 40, who was among the audience, after the two ignored Navamintr’s demand for them to stand up for the royal anthem which precedes every movie shown in Thailand's cinemas.

Chotisak called the police and filed complaints at Pathumwan police station against Navamintr for verbal and physical abuse, damage to personal property and coercion, while Navamintr filed a lèse majesté complaint against them.

In April 2008, Chotisak and his friend were charged with lèse majesté by the police.

In Sept 2008, the public prosecutor dropped the physical abuse charges against Navamintr, and in Oct 2008 the police forwarded the lèse majesté case against Chotisak and his friend to the public prosecutor.

According to the letter, the prosecutor believes that by not standing up for the royal anthem, and by saying ‘Why is it necessary to stand up when it is not required by law?’, the actions of the accused did not constitute insults or defamation.

Although the behaviour of the accused was improper and should not be copied by others, their actions cannot be pinpointed as having the intention to insult the King, and there is insufficient evidence to justify their prosecution, the prosecutor says.

In a similar case on the iLaw website, one moviegoer at the Major Cineplex Ratchayothin on 15 Jun 2008 did not stand up for the royal anthem, lifted both her feet onto the next chair, and after the anthem was over, shouted vulgar words.

On 19 Oct 2009, the court found her guilty under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, and sentenced her to three years in prison, but the jail term was reduced by half and suspended for two years as she had pleaded guilty and had a history of mental illness, according to the testimony of doctors from Srithanya and Trang Hospitals.

Comments

‘Why is it necessary to stand

‘Why is it necessary to stand up when it is not required by law?’

Because as soon as they say lese majeste it's over. Forget 'law'. Any human or civil rights you thought you possessed are vaporized. They don't need no stinkin' law. You're nobody. You're a stateless person. You're not Thai by virtue of the charge, for if you are charged with lese majeste you are guilty of lese majeste. See Ekachai Hongkangwan above who has been forbidden to plead innocent.

And it's not over ... 'til it's over. And it's never over as long as you're breathing. There is no statute of limitations on lese majeste. The prosecutor, or another one, could decide to reopen the case against Chotisak Onsoong and friend tomorrow, or next month, or next year, or at any time as long as they are still alive.

Having a lese majeste charge against you is equivalent to having a genetic disorder. It's part of your makeup. It never goes away. If you have children ... they may be prosecuted on the basis of having inherited your non-Thai, lese majeste gene.

The Inquisition can strike at any time. In the interests or ethno-racial purity.

Well said. Last year I saw 4

Well said.

Last year I saw 4 farang in front of me in a theater that didn't stand up. Then put their feet up on the chairs in front of them, too. Probably tourists who didn't have a clue . . . They were in the front middle row and everyone could clearly see them.

No one said anything to them.

I considered warning them of the dangers, but then decided not to so I can bask in the rebelliousness that I myself am too afraid to attempt . . .

Or you could join the "anthem

Or you could join the "anthem lurkers" outside who wait till the music stops then all come in in a rush at the start of the film so that you end up trying to understand the opening scene through a mass of moving bodies.

LOL I thought that was just

LOL
I thought that was just me who did that!
It's annoying though, because you miss all the ads for up coming movies you might like to see. But still better than being degraded by threats.

What!? People lurking in the

What!?

People lurking in the lobby rather than joining in the Spontaneous Communal Worship programmed before each show are not being charged with lese majeste!?

The authorities, who prefer confrontation, "defiance", and punishment - with that last part, keeping up the level of terror associated with royalty among the populace being the whole point of the exercise - are missing those obviously un-terrified people in the lobby!? Lax, lax, lax!!!

They're doing all this in the best interests of the royals themselves, of course. Right.

PPT writes ... The pair had

PPT writes ...

The pair had fled Thailand more than year ago when it appeared that the case was to go ahead.

... so maybe this is a feint to draw them back home, when the trap will be sprung and they'll be treated to "sentence first, verdict after" or "verdict first, trial after" ... like everyone else?

There is no statute of limitations ... and no point at all in trusting the "good faith" of any in power in Thailand.