BANGKOK — Police said Wednesday they arrested a group of netizens who shared hoax news about the Election Commission.
Police Lt. Gen. Surachet Hakparn said the nine suspects were arrested and charged with cybercrime for sharing the news, which claimed that two Election Commissioners were fired after voting irregularities were discovered.
The suspects were brought to yesterday’s news conference wearing facemasks. Police did not name any of them. One of the suspects, a woman, tearfully told reporters she shared the news without knowing it was fake.
“I only knew it was hoax news when police arrested me at my home,” the unnamed woman said, according to a report on the state-owned Thai News Agency.
But Surachet, who’s in charge of immigration and internet crimes, said the suspects caused severe “confusion and panic” by sharing the false news.
He also said police already know the identity of those responsible for writing the article, but admitted investigators have yet to establish whether they are in Thailand.
All nine suspects were charged with violating the Computer Crime Act, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail.
The Election Commission earlier this week threatened to take legal action against those who shared false information about their work.
The agency has come under fire from junta critics since Sunday’s election, which was fraught with alleged disparities and errors. An activist launched a petition Wednesday to remove the commissioners from office, citing their incompetence.