BANGKOK — The Criminal Court on Thursday ordered a businesswoman to be imprisoned for 12 days as she awaits trial on several grave offenses, including, most notably, insulting the monarchy.
Although Monta Yokrattanakan, 56, has been embroiled in series of allegations of human trafficking and abusing justice system for the last week, the investigation took a dramatic turn today after police also charged her with royal defamation, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
Earlier on Thursday, Monta was arrested and escorted by police on a search of her condominium in the Chatuchak area of Bangkok. She was later sent to court, where police investigators requested that she be held in remand, citing a fear that she may interfere with evidence if freed on bail.
Monta contested the police’s remand request and posted a bond money of 1.1 million baht. However, the court in the afternoon ruled against Monta and ordered her to be jailed. She was taken directly to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.
Charges filed against Monta include human trafficking, filing false complaints to police, harassment and insulting the monarchy.
Police provided few details to the media about the last charge beyond saying that Monta made false claims that she has a royal bloodline, and that she was also bestowed a royal title by His Majesty the King.
“She falsely claimed ties to the High Institution,” said the officer in charge of the investigation, Chakrit Sawasdi, using a euphemism that refers to the monarchy. “Please don’t go into details about this case. It’s a sensitive matter.”
Sanit Mahatavorn, interim commander of Bangkok Metropolitan Police, also declined to elaborate on Monta’s royal defamation charge. “I cannot comment on this,” he said by telephone.
Apart from lese majeste, Monta stands accused of filing false theft complaints against her 19-year-old maid which landed her in prison for two months, and sending young women to work abroad against their will.
Monta has denied all allegations.