US Citizen Facing 15 Years In Jail For Linking From His Blog To An Unauthorized Bio Of Thai King
from the goodbye tourism dept
I’m curious if Thailand is purposely trying to kill off its rather lucrative tourism business. We’ve discussed in the past that Thailand has strict laws against “insulting” the king. These lèse majesté laws are used widely in Thailand to stop any sort of political criticism. They’ve been used to block entire sites including YouTube, and to arrest website owners for the comments on their site.
Lately, Thailand has been trying to use those laws against US citizens. Last month, we wrote about the case of Anthony Chai, a US citizen who had posted some anonymous comments critical of the king. In that case, the Canadian/US firm that hosted the site handed Chai’s identity over to the Thai government without question, and Chai was arrested recently while visiting.
In a similar case, US citizen Joe Gordon had posted a link on his blog to an unauthorized bio of the king… and was then arrested when visiting Thailand, the news has come out that after months of denying the charges, Gordon has decided he can’t take it any more and has agreed to plead guilty.
“I do not want to fight this case. I plead guilty to all the accusations,” he told judges.
At this point, I’m not sure why any US citizen would ever agree to visit Thailand again. If you merely link to an unauthorized bio of the king, you could end up in jail. Furthermore, I’m curious as to what the Thai leadership thinks it’s accomplishing with these actions. Honestly, without these cases, I’d never even know about the Thai king at all. It seems like each of these actions only brings greater negative attention on the king than if he’d just ignored such things.