Patnaree Charnkij is the 43-year-old mother of activist Sirawith “Ja New” Seritiwat. On 22 December, the court dismissed Section 112 charge against her.
In 2016, in a Facebook chat with a man named Burin Indin, she replied with the word “จ้า” five minutes after he made a post that is deemed a lese majeste offense.
“จ้า” (Ja) translates to “okay” and is used to end a conversation.
For this one word, Patnaree was charged with the lese majeste crime, which carries a minimum of three years and a maximum of 15 years imprisonment.
It took four years of battling the case before the court could acquit her of the word “จ้า.”
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Napasin Trirayaphiwat has been summoned over Section 112 for wearing a crop top. Jatuporn Sae-Eung for wearing a traditional Thai dress. Actress Inthira “Sai” Charoenpura for using the words “กล้ามาก” (very brave).
All three cases involved satire against the monarchy; the punishment for a satirical crop top, a satirical traditional dress, and two satirical words equal to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment on each count.
No Section 112 has yet been filed for this, but here’s the latest madness.
When pro-democracy activists turned up at the police station to show support for the actress Sai on Monday, many wore a t-shirt bearing her last name “เจริญปุระ” (Charoenpura) and its initials “จปร” (Jor Por Ror).
The ultra-royalists say จปร (Jor Por Ror) is the initials of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn’s full name and that using the initials is an insult to the monarchy. Therefore those who wore the t-shirts have committed Section 112 and ought to be charged accordingly.
จปร (Jor Por Ror) is also the initials of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.
Academic and royalist Arnond Sakworawit became well-known for his televised debate with Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul over the monarchy’s wealth. He wrote on his Facebook, appealing to the graduates of the royal military academy:
“จะทนการย่ำยีดูหมิ่น พระปรมาภิไธยย่อ และการดูหมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ เช่นนี้ได้จริงหรือ?” (“Will you endure the trampling and insult of the royal initials, the defamation of sovereignty?”)
The true believers on social media agreed. They demand Section 112. They call on hellfire to rain upon the heads of Sai, all those who wore the shirts, and all those who support monarchy reform.
To date, no charge has yet been filed. But the reality is, take all the cases presented here, do not ever underestimate the madness surrounding Section 112.
Words and fashion can get you 15 years of prison time. That’s the extent of our barbarism.
Cruel laws cannot exist unless ordinary citizens support cruelty. In Thailand, barbarism prevails simply because not everyone respects the monarchy in the same way.