Royalist Calls for Coup, Lawyer Replies With Complaints

Soldiers face off with reporters moments after the military stages a coup on May 22, 2014.
Soldiers face off with reporters moments after the military stages a coup on May 22, 2014.

BANGKOK — A lawyer and activist on Wednesday accused an ultraroyalist of inciting insurrection after he publicly called for the government to enact “special laws” that would amount to a military coup in order to protect the monarchy. 

Attorney Winyat Chartmontri lodged his complaint to the Dusit Police Station against Krit Yiammethakorn, the leader of the People’s Network for the Protection of the Monarchy group, who had said he would also petition the army chief to solve the ongoing political crisis by “shutting down” the country.

“I want the police to accept the case because this is an offense involving national security,” Winyat said. “I didn’t mean to intimidate Krit, it’s a clear act of wrongdoing.”

Winyat said he filed complaints on charges of sedition, instigating the armed forces to commit mutiny, and importing information deemed a threat to national security to the computer system.

The royalist group made the call for a coup during a counter-protest against the pro-democracy demonstrators in Bangkok on Sunday, where Krit said he would go to the army headquarters to hand an open letter to the army chief Gen. Narongphan Jitkaewthae on Monday morning.

Ultraroyalist Krit Yiammethakorn speaks at a counter-rally on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok, Nov. 9, 2020.

“I will submit an open letter to the army chief to call for a coup to shut down the country,” Krit said Sunday.

“I will also make a statement addressing the government, security authorities, and the armed forces to propose a solution for Thailand. We must help the nation and the government feed the right history to counter attempts by a certain group to distort it.”

When Monday came around, Krit went instead to Government House and submitted a petition urging PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to enact unspecified special measures to suspend constitutional rights to assemble and “deal” with the ongoing protests. 

However, other royalist movements seemed to distance themselves from Krit’s endorsement of a coup. 

The Center for People Protecting the Institution group, which consists of multiple royalist fractions including former polytechnic students, said Monday they disagreed with the idea since their main goal was to protect the monarchy.

“It’s just an idea from one of our members. It’s not associated with the group,” leader Tinnakorn Prodpai said. “I confirm that our objective is to protect the monarchy. We don’t want a coup or a shut down of Thailand.”

Krit himself also backed down and later said the letter was only meant to give moral support to the army for their role in protecting the monarchy.

When asked about the chance of the coup, army chief Narongphan told reporters Monday the probability is “below zero.”

The last military coup in Thailand was staged by PM Prayut in 2014 when he seized power from remnants of the elected government under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.