BANGKOK — A media report on Friday said a man was detained and questioned for his involvement in a popular Facebook page lampooning the monarchy.
Prachatai news site quoted the man as saying that he was taken to a police station in the northern region interrogated about his posts in a Facebook page called “Royalist Marketplace.” Police have yet to publicly confirm that the incident took place.
“I need to check the details,” anti-cybercrime police spokesman Pol. Col. Siriwat Deepor said. “However, our agency is constantly working with the digital economy ministry to monitor and suppress any content deemed to be inappropriate.”
The closed group, which has more than 430,000 members as of press time, was created by Japan-based academic and monarchy critic Pavin Chachavalpongpun. Modeled after online alumni marketplaces that mushroomed during the coronavirus business shutdown, the group routinely mocks the monarchy with its satirical posts.
Negative discussion of the monarchy, an offense known as lese majeste, is punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a former journalist based in the UK, wrote that police have infiltrated the “Royalist Marketplace” and hunted down its members. He also said four people were questioned by the police for their involvement with the satire group.
Although no charges were filed, they were asked to sign an agreement pledging not to make any critical comments about the monarchy in the future, Marshall said.
Prachatai said it tracked down and interviewed one of the four men. The man said eight police officers took him away from his home without warrants, questioned him about the group and his political opinions, and ordered him to delete his posts in the Royalist Marketplace.
The man said he was released on the same day.
Discussions of the monarchy remain a taboo subject in Thailand, where police and pro-monarchy groups frequently patrol the social media platforms and look for comments offensive to the Royal Family.
Some users were prosecuted and even jailed for their online comments.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said Andrew MacGregor Marshall deleted his psot about police questioning four men over the online group. In fact, he did not delete the post.