From daily The Independent in Britain today:
Thai factory worker faces jail for insulting the king’s dog online
A best-selling book about the dog, named Tondaeng, describes her as a ‘respectful dog with proper manners’
A Thai factory worker could go to prison for a “sarcastic” post on social media in which he disparaged the king’s dog, Tongdaeng.
The worker, Thanakorn Siripaiboon, faces years in prison for his crimes, which include sedition and insulting the king.
As the New York Times reports, Siripaiboon’s lawyer, Anon Numpa, said the precise insult towards the dog was not specified in the military court where he was charged.
Siripaiboon is also accused of sharing a post on Facebook that alleged corruption in the construction of a monument to previous Thai kings.
The unusual case draws attention to the increasing harsh penalties handed to those who criticise the country’s king, queen, heir apparent or regent. Since a military coup in Thailand last year, authorities have been cracking down on any type of dissent.
Numpa still expressed surprise that the law that forbids criticism of the royals would be extended to the king’s dog, however.
Siripaiboon was arrested at his Bangkok home last week, and had his arraignment on Monday.
Tongdaeng, or Copper, was a stray rescued by Thailand’s ailing 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1998.
A book, titled The Story of Tongdaeng, was written by the king in 2002 and became an instant bestseller in the country. An animated film, based on the stories in the book, also went to number two at the Thai box offices after its release last week.
In the book, Tongdaeng is described as a “respectful dog with proper manners,” who is also “humble” and “knows protocol.”
The book also notes that Tongdaeng respectfully droops her ears and lowers to the floor in the presence of the King.
According to Numpa, the next step in the case will be Siripaiboon’s indictment, but no date has yet been set by authorities.
The Bangkok-based printer of the International New York Times removed this story from the 14 December 2015 print edition of the paper: here.
LOVE YOUR SHRIMP? IT MAY HAVE BEEN PEELED BY SLAVES Modern-day slaves in Thailand may be providing your favorite seafood dish. [AP]
Slaves are used to peel and process shrimp that finds its way in to many major supermarkets and shrimp companies around the world, according to an investigative report by the Associated Press (AP) published last week. At Gig Peeling Factory in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, slaves work 16-hour days, waking up as early as 2 AM with the command, “Get up or get beaten.” Peeling shrimp in ice buckets, small children work alongside their parents, often crying, as their cold hands become numb in the troughs of shrimp: here.
Thai crown prince’s poodle, Air Chief Marshal Foo Foo, has been cremated. Death has prompted surge in coded social media comments on the subject, in a country where it is illegal to openly discuss royal succession: here.