We easily forget free speech isn’t as accepted in other places around the world as it is in the United States. And one Thai man is paying the price.
Factory worker Thanakorn Siripaiboon faces up to 37 years in prison for mocking the king’s dog on social media. He was arrested at his home in Bangkok last week for the “sarcastic” Internet post. The Thai military wasn’t specific about the insult Siripaiboon used.
Appreciation for the royal pet is well documented. Just last week, Khun Tongdaeng: The Inspirations, hit theaters in Thailand and reached No. 2 at the box office. It’s an animated movie inspired by a book King Bhumibol Adulyadej wrote in 2002 about his dog.
The king’s dog Tongdaeng, or Copper, is a well-known and beloved pup in the country and was rescued from the streets. Plus, laws in Thailand make it a crime to criticize, defame, or insult members of the royal family.
“I never imagined they would use the law for the royal dog. It’s nonsense,” Siripaiboon’s lawyer, Anon Numpa, told the International New York Times.
This story reminds us: think before you tweet…or post on Facebook.