BANGKOK — A woman charged with assault for slapping a schoolgirl who sat through the National Anthem on Thursday received a donation as large as many Thais’ monthly salaries from pro-establishment netizens.
Hardline monarchy supporters fundraised and sent 18,200 baht to the suspect, identified by the police as Poo Tondee, to help her fight the legal action, media reports say. Poo was charged after videos posted on social media show her slapping the 15-year-old victim at Ayutthaya Train Station on Tuesday.
The donation was mostly raised through Cheer Lung, a Facebook page that supports PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and opposes calls to reform the monarchy.
“By popular demand, since our followers want to donate to her,” Cheer Lung posted on Wednesday with Poo’s bank account. “Auntie Poo had good intentions, but bad execution.”
Although police did not release Poo’s full name, Cheer Uncle page publicly posted it, as well as her Krungthai bank account, on their page. The page asked people to donate no more than 100 baht per person.
Donations were closed Wednesday night, but page admins said they would continue helping Poo, who works as a roti seller, if necessary.
Police Col. Prawet Srinak of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Police said Poo is due to appear in court on Nov. 16. Assault carries a maximum punishment of two years in jail and 40,000 baht.
In a meeting with the police, Poo said she attacked the girl after she felt enraged to see her sitting through the National Anthem; the victim said she had menstrual pain and could not stand.
Scores of anti-government protesters also held a brief rally on Wednesday evening at the train station where the schoolgirl was attacked to show their solidarity with the victim.