Man Arrested for Insulting King, Possessing Marijuana

Anupol Dechwichit at Wattana Nakhon Police Station on Wednesday.

SA KAEO — Police on Friday said they arrested a 18-year-old man in the northeastern province of Sa Kaeo for possessing marijuana and defaming the late King Bhumibol online, charges he reportedly confessed to.

Beyond confirming the arrest of Anupol Dechwichit, which took place on Wednesday evening, police officers handling the case would not divulge other details, saying the case was a sensitive matter.

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“Some puu yai have asked me not to speak to media about this,” Sa Kaeo police commander Maj. Gen. Yingyot Thepchamnong said Friday, referring to unspecific senior bureaucrats. “This is a matter of great sensitivity.”

Col. Thanawut Jongjira of Sa Kaeo City Police Station likewise declined to answer questions about Anupol. “It’s a dangerous topic,” the officer said.

According to police, Anupol posted Wednesday three offensive messages publicly on Facebook about King Bhumibol, who died Oct. 13 at 88. Police received complaints from other internet users and arrested him four hours after he allegedly posted the messages, the report said.

Anupol was subsequently charged with lese majeste, which punishes any negative discussion of the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison. Police declined to confirm reports Anupol claimed to be stoned at the time.

Police did say they found packets of marijuana in his residence, said Lt. Col. Katanyu Puangkoh, an investigator responsible for the drug case against Anupol.

Anupol confessed to both charges, according to Maj. Gen. Yingyot. He would not say whether or not the suspect had received bail.

The arrest came at a time of heightened sensitivity, following the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol, who was widely revered throughout his reign of 70 years.

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