‘Mushroom-Picking Couple’ Gets Royal Pardon

A file photo of Udom Sirisorn and Daeng Sirisorn.

KALASIN —  A royal pardon on Thursday released a couple sentenced to decades in prison for encroaching on forests. 

Udom Sirisorn and Daeng Sirisorn walked free after serving over three years behind bars. Less-informed netizens often invoked their prison sentence as proof of injustice in Thailand.

But while the pair was best known on the internet as elderly foresters who went to prison for picking wild mushrooms for humble meals, the court also found them guilty of more serious crimes – cutting down over 700 trees in a protected forest and selling them to buyers for handsome profits.

The Forest Department estimated the couple sold logs worth a total of 500,000 baht.

Udom, 56, and Daeng, 53, first rose to internet fame in 2010 when they were convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail for alleged encroachment. Two upper courts affirmed the conviction in 2014 and 2017.

Udom and Daeng were subsequently lionized by internet activists as victims of injustice and unfair treatment.