Minister Says 1 Arrested Over ‘Inappropriate’ Protest Photo

Image: Puttipong Punnakan / Facebook

BANGKOK — A controversy over a viral photo deemed to be derogatory toward the monarchy escalated into an arrest on Wednesday, an official in charge of the digital ministry said.

Digital Economy and Society Minister Puttipong Punnakan posted online that the person behind the image is now in police custody, though he did not divulge other details on the grounds that it is a “sensitive issue.”

“As soon as I can hold a news conference, I will let you know the details,” Puttipong wrote on his official Facebook account. “No one can tolerate this kind of thing. I can’t either. I will fight with the best of my ability to defend the beloved institution of Thai people.”

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Police have yet to confirm Puttipong’s statement. He also did not mention what charges were pressed against the person responsible for the photo.

Although Puttipong did not identify anyone in the post, a woman named Pimchanok Puksuk reportedly lost her job at a TV station after she posted the image, which shows herself holding a sign saying “Fuck you dictatorship” next to a huge portrait of the late King Rama IX.

The photo was taken when she was attending an anti-government protest at Pathumwan Intersection on Saturday.

Her friends also made teasing references to the monarchy in comments to the photo. Pimchanok appears to have deactivated her Facebook.