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The Thai military have arrested a group of people in southern Thailand who are allegedly involved in a network making false claims about the monarchy for financial gain.

On 27 April 2017, soldiers arrested Nonglak B., a radio host from Thung Song District of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province after several individuals were arrested and taken to a local military base a day earlier for interrogation.

They were arrested for reportedly promising the 2017 ‘Thep Kinnari Award’, given by Princess Sirindhorn for contributions to the preservation of Thai arts and culture, in exchange for money.  

At the same time, soldiers and police officers in Trang Province arrested Waraphon W., president of the Women’s Cultural Association under Royal Patronage, and Phatthiya C., together with four other people on similar charges.

Nonglak, Phatthiya, and Waraphon are currently detained at the Phraya Ratsadanupradit Military Camp. Under Section 44 of the Interim Charter, they can be detained until 2 May 2017.

In May 2016, the Provincial Court of the northern province of Kamphaeng Phet sentenced Kittiphop S., 23, and Wiset P., 30, to four years’ imprisonment for offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for making false claims about Princess Sirindhorn for financial benefit.

The two are among four suspects who were arrested in late August 2015 and charged with offences under Article 112 for making false claims about the monarchy, falsifying public documents, fraud, and impersonating officers from the Bureau of the Royal Household.

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