Army Detains Suspected Admin of Monarchy Satire FB Page

BANGKOK — A man suspected of running a Facebook page lampooning the Royal Family was briefly held by the military over the weekend, a civil rights lawyer said Monday.

The man was questioned at Maeping Police Station in Chiang Mai province on Sunday and later released on the same day, lawyer Arnon Nampha said by phone. The army believes the man to be responsible for a page called “GuKult,” which routinely satirizes the monarchy and other political figures.

“He has been released. No charge was filed. I don’t know further details,” Arnon said. “Maybe they got the wrong guy.”

GuKult has not posted any statement on the possible arrest of its administrator. The page was last updated on Sunday when it posted a humorous tribute to the death of chief royal adviser Prem Tinsulanonda by suggesting lucky lottery numbers associated with the late statesman.

Some of the page followers teased that the post might have been written by military personnel who gained access to the site.

“What the fuck. Is this entrapment?” user Munich Germany wrote.

“Hehe, that’s a convincing disguise, Mr. Officer,” Chanapat Konsawan wrote.

The admin has not responded to messages seeking inquiry.

GuKult is well known among politically-minded netizens for jokes that often verge on dangerous territory. Any negative action deemed insulting to the monarchy is punishable by up to 15 years in jail under the lese majeste law.

In 2016, Facebook said it cooperated with a request from Thai authorities and blocked Thai users from viewing GuKult. However, the ban appears to have been lifted.