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The Thai junta is trying hard to press other countries to extradite political exiles for allegedly defaming the revered Thai monarchy, saying that they should think twice about their long term relations with Thailand, after claiming that the exiles caused the biggest single day loss on the Thai stock market.

Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, told the press on Wednesday that the Thai authorities are trying to cooperate with other countries to hunt down lèse majesté suspects in exile, one of whom is Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a Thammasat University political historian, who went into self-imposed exile shortly after the coup d’état in May.

“We must express to other countries how these people [lèse majesté suspects] have committed crimes according to Thai law,” said Prawit.

On the same day, Sek Wannamethee, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that although western countries respect democracy and human rights, these countries should think of their long term relations with Thailand.

“No country should allow political movements against allied countries to take place,” said Sek.

He added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is cooperating closely with Thai embassies and foreign embassies in the country when there is news about lèse majesté political exiles and that Cambodia and Lao PDR have confirmed that they would not allow Thai political exiles to stage political movements.

The attempt to crack down on lèse majesté political exiles came after Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the junta's spokesman, directly accused a Thai journalist living in self-imposed exile, Jom Petpradab, of spreading rumours about the Thai King’s health, which caused the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) to plunge dramatically on Monday.

The ambiguous reference to the King’s health was alleged to be in “The inside story of the divorce between the Crown Prince and Mom Srirasmi”. The story was written by Jom and published on the Thai Voice Media website on 13 December.

However, according to ASTV-Manager Online, the troublesome rumour was from an interview with Jakrapob Penkair, a Thai political activist living in self-imposed exile in a neighbouring country.  

Although Jom and Jakrapob were accused of being the only two culprits at first, the junta later claimed that other political exiles might also be responsible for the rumour to try to undermine the military government.

In response to the rumours, Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri, spokesperson of the Royal Thai Police, said vaguely that people who were spreading the rumours have connections with some other lèse majesté suspects.

In addition, Prawut said that the police have regularly cooperated with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) to block lèse majesté websites, but some were difficult to block because they were hosted on overseas servers.


See related news:

Thai junta accuses self-exiled journalist for spreading rumours causing SET to plunge

Self-exiled journalist clarifies allegation that his report caused SET to plunge


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