Graduate university student sentenced to 3 years for royal defamation in TikTok Post

Cover photo: The Kamphaeng Phet Provincial Court (from Thai Lawyers For Human Rights)

A graduate student from Chiang Mai University has been sentenced to three years under the royal defamation law for posting a TikTok video clip lip-syncing to the song ‘King in Fairy Tales’ which allegedly led to a misunderstanding. The sentence was reduced to one year and six months after she pleaded guilty.

On 13 June 2023, Thai Lawyers For Human Rights reported that the Kamphaeng Phet Provincial Court delivered a verdict in the case of “Thida” (pseudonym).

The inquiry officer issued two summons for Thida to acknowledge the charges. The first summons was on 15 February 2022 for an offence under the royal defamation law. The second one, scheduled for 6 October 2022, included an additional charge under the Computer-Related Crime Act.

The prosecution indicted her on 29 November 2022. The indictment stated that on 9 August 2021, Thida posted a video on the TikTok application where she lip-synced or mimicked lip movements to the song with content that did not match the original song. When the public watched the video, it led to a misunderstanding that King Rama X’s behaviour was inappropriate.

Thida pleaded guilty during the first witness hearing in April 2023. The Court ordered a detention centre to further investigate her behaviour.

On 13 June 2023, the Court ruled that Thida was guilty under the royal defamation law and Computer-Related Crime Act, which constituted multiple offences for a single act. Sentencing was based on the law with the heavier penalty, resulting in three years in prison. Due to her guilty plea, the penalty was reduced to one year and six months.

According to the report on her behaviour, Thida used TikTok to make a living. She posted the video clip solely to increase her views and her income, possibly without considering its consequences. The sentence was suspended, and she is required to report to probation officers four times each year.


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