Thai Police Mulls Criminal Charges Against Thai Airline’s April Fool’s Tweet

Criminal charges could be filed against staff of the budget airline Thai Vietjet for an April Fool’s tweet. The investigation comes after an activist lawyer filed a complaint with police alleging it had insulted Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The Thai police would consider the complaint by reviewing “all the facts” relating to what happened and “whether there was any criminal intent,” Kissana Phathanacharoen, Thai deputy police spokesperson said.

According to Thailand’s “lese majeste” laws, defaming the monarchy is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

On April 1, Thai Vietjet’s official account tweeted that the airline was launching a new international route between the Thai province Nan and Munich in Germany.

Though the tweet did not mention the royals, it was seen as a reference to King Vajiralongkorn, 69, who has a home in Germany where he spends time with Royal Noble Consort Sineenat Wongvajiraphakdi, who was born in Nan province.

The airline deleted the tweet and apologized, saying senior management had not known about the tweet that advertised a “flight route between a province in Thailand and a city in Europe, which led to many public reactions.”

Airline CEO Woranate Laprabang responded to the online royalist outrage by saying the management has suspended the staff responsible pending an investigation.

“I would like to apologize to the Thai people once again for such an incident,” Woranate said.

However, on Monday, lawyer Srisuwan Janya filed a police complaint of royal insult and computer crimes, saying the tweet “showed intent to offend” and an apology was not enough.

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