Skip to main content
The webmaster of a teen website has been interrogated by police twice for a comment deemed ‘probably’ offensive to the monarchy, which was posted by a reader almost two years ago.
Theepakorn Wutthiphitthayamongkol, co-founder and webmaster of weblog, was first summoned by Crime Suppression Division police on April 1. He wrote in his blog that after he had reported this, many readers thought that it was just an April Fool’s Day joke.
According to Theepakorn, the police did not make clear what exactly the case was about. He was asked about his personal information, the exteen website, and the supervision of its content as well as information about the owner of the IP address who posted the ‘probable’ lèse majesté comment, for which he answered that he had no such information.
The message was posted in August 2007 by an unregistered poster, and the website administrators deleted it within 24 hours after being notified by the Information and Communications Technology Ministry. Ever since then there has been no contact from the Ministry.
He wrote that it was no surprise that police wanted to press charges against the person who posted the comment and the webmaster, but the surprise was that the comment had been posted and deleted almost two years before. And two years’ time on the internet is like ages, he noted. The police had just been forwarded the case from the ICT Ministry, and started to look into it just recently.
Theepakorn gave a log of the comment and the poster’s IP address to the police, although he was aware that, under the computer crime law, website administrators are obliged to keep the log and make it available to authorities for only 90 days, not two years.
Police asked whether he was complicit with the comment, and whether the website administrators would be able to know the telephone number of the owner of the IP address, and he said no.
The interrogation took about one hour and a half. Theepakorn thought it was over, but he was wrong.
On June 3, he received a phone call from a police officer who asked him to visit the the Crime Suppression Division for further interrogation on that day.
When he said it would not be convenient for him, and he had already given all available information, he was told that he was called this time as a witness. And if he did not cooperate, he would probably be summoned as a suspect, because, ‘the higher-ups want to tackle the webmaster,’ the police officer told him.
Theepakorn asked whether there were other convenient ways to do the interrogation, such as by phone, as he had jobs to do. The officer declined and said he would go to his house if Theepakorn was OK with it. 
After a long pause, Theepakorn, knowing it was inevitable, made an appointment for the early afternoon.
At 1 pm, a Police Lieutenant Colonel came knocking at his door, and began to ask him the very same questions as had been asked before like, how many new entries and comments were posted each day, and what the exteen website was about.
Theepakorn, flummoxed by the way police conducted the case, was told at the end of the interrogation, to find one or two witnesses from among website members who could confirm its innocence during interrogation on the morning of the next day.
‘[This is] for your own benefit,’ the officer said to Theepakorn, adding that for the website there should be nothing to be worried about as it looked innocuous or ‘inoffensive’, but ‘to play by the rules’ it was necessary to have witnesses or evidence to confirm this.
In light of this, Theepakorn has many questions to ponder and be perplexed about. 
Why did the ICT Ministry just forward the case to police after almost two years had passed? 
Why does he, who has fully cooperated with the police, have to be bothered again and again? 
Why have the police pursued the case, despite the fact that the officer himself said that it was just a one-off incident? 
Why don’t police use their precious time to pursue other serious crimes such as busting pornographic websites, chit funds, hackers, or spammers who make more trouble for people?
Sighing, he hoped police could finish the case in a day or two. Although he could make use of it as an easy entry in his blog, this was no fun at all, he wrote.
He noted that the police officer did his job in an absolutely polite manner, despite a few veiled threats.
Launched in 2004, exteen website provides a free blog service. Currently, there are about 300,000 registered blogs, out of which about 30,000 are active. With a daily average of 240,000 IPS viewing the site, it is the 5th most popular website in Thailand, according to Truehits, as of June 8, 2009.  


<p><a href="" title=""></a></p>
Prachatai English's Logo

Prachatai English is an independent, non-profit news outlet committed to covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite pressure from the authorities. Your support will ensure that we stay a professional media source and be able to meet the challenges and deliver in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”