US Citizen Facing 15 Years In Jail For Linking From His Blog To An Unauthorized Bio Of Thai King

from the goodbye-tourism dept

I'm curious if Thailand is purposely trying to kill off its rather lucrative tourism business. We've discussed in the past that Thailand has strict laws against "insulting" the king. These lèse majesté laws are used widely in Thailand to stop any sort of political criticism. They've been used to block entire sites including YouTube, and to arrest website owners for the comments on their site.

Lately, Thailand has been trying to use those laws against US citizens. Last month, we wrote about the case of Anthony Chai, a US citizen who had posted some anonymous comments critical of the king. In that case, the Canadian/US firm that hosted the site handed Chai's identity over to the Thai government without question, and Chai was arrested recently while visiting.

In a similar case, US citizen Joe Gordon had posted a link on his blog to an unauthorized bio of the king... and was then arrested when visiting Thailand, the news has come out that after months of denying the charges, Gordon has decided he can't take it any more and has agreed to plead guilty.
"I do not want to fight this case. I plead guilty to all the accusations," he told judges.
At this point, I'm not sure why any US citizen would ever agree to visit Thailand again. If you merely link to an unauthorized bio of the king, you could end up in jail. Furthermore, I'm curious as to what the Thai leadership thinks it's accomplishing with these actions. Honestly, without these cases, I'd never even know about the Thai king at all. It seems like each of these actions only brings greater negative attention on the king than if he'd just ignored such things.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:20am

    OOh, free trip!

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:22am

    OOh, free trip!

    I've never been to Thailand, so here goes:

    The King Bhumibol Adulyadej is a fink!

    (Well, let's see how this goes...)

     

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    •  
      identicon
      John Doe, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:31am

      Re: OOh, free trip!

      and to arrest website owners for the comments on their site

      You just got Mike put on Thailand's most wanted list.

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re: OOh, free trip!

        Hey, as long as somebody gets a free trip, then it's a win!

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:04am

          Re: Re: Re: OOh, free trip!

          I don't think it will be a free trip so much as it will be free room and board.

           

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 6:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: OOh, free trip!

            But not much room. Thai prisons are supposed to be rather horrid. (as in not enough room for everyone to actually lie down to sleep you are packed in so tight type horrible.)

             

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            Bergman (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 6:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: OOh, free trip!

            It might not be free room and board. Was Thailand a British, Spanish or French possession way back when?

            In countries with French and Spanish legal traditions, it's not unusual (particularly in the formerly French ones) for the jailer to NOT provide any food to the prisoners. Feeding prisoners is actually more of a British thing.

            Being thrown into a third world jail sucks. Being expected to pay for your own meals in there or starve sucks a lot more.

             

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    •  
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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:54am

      Re: OOh, free trip!

      Ditto!

      Now any AC can get arrested in Thailand, on suspicion that they're the notorious AC. This would certainly justify an IP fishing expedition to locate the perpetrators.

       

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      The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

      Re: OOh, free trip!

      And exactly how are we supposed to know if King Ramalamadingdong doesn't prefer sex with underage boys? People are sayin' things.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2011 @ 7:38pm

      Re: OOh, free trip!

      Lol, what a fucking idiot. This is ridiculous, I hope that king gets over being a total douche bag at some point in the future. He needs to get over himself.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:27am

    The King of Thailand's feelings our just as important as ours, freetard Masnick.

     

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    John Doe, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:30am

    Barbara Streisand is the King of Thailand?

    Is Barbara Streisand the King of Thailand?

     

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    Wayne, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:31am

    Hey Freetard anonymous coward,

    yes, if we're on the kindergarten playground it might be a good argument, but in the real world of adults I can call you a moron and there's no way i am going to jail for 15 years. I call the king of Thailand a moron and oops, if i visit Thailand i can go to jail for 15 years. Yeah your right, his feelings are so important.

     

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      Rabbi Killinger, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:02am

      Re: Think Moron, Think!

      Shalom friend,

      If you think King Rama of Siam ( Thailand) is a "moron", than why bother visiting Thailand? Oops. looks like you are a bigger moron than him!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Seems fair.

    If U.S law can apply to everyone in the world, then it sonly fair if Thai and Iranian laws apply in the U.S

    Time for the U.S to extradite all of Hollywood to be hanged and stoned in Iran for being sinful

     

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    Mee Yai, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Just to be accurate Joe has dual Thai/U.S. nationality

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:52am

    I wonder what kind of torture you have to go through to go, "You know what? Fuck it, it is not worth arguing about this for a mere 15 years in a Thai prison."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:19am

    Typo alert: Thailiand (moving on...)

     

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    anonymous, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    not saying for 1 second that i agree with this, but doesn't USA dish out similar things against residents of other countries? for instance, Richard O'Dwyer from the UK was being pursued by the US government accused of criminal copyright infringement wasn't he?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:32am

    Not just Thailand

    Thailand is not the only country where a foreigner can be arrested based on something he did while in his own country and which is not a crime where he did it.

    Two words: Dmitry Sklyarov.

     

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    Rich Griese, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:34am

    For the chicks

    I think USA men go to Thailand for the chicks. They apparently go their for long weekends and hire the chicks are prostitutes and sex partners. It might be good to arrest US men that go to Thailand... it weeds out the deviants from the USA.

    Cheers!

     

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      identicon
      S, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:05am

      Re: For the chicks

      People who say this sort of shit usually get found in a coke-strewn room with several under-aged hookers a few years later.

      Tell me: are you one of those people?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:59pm

      Re: For the chicks

      Can all those white boys posting their encounters with Thai hookers on PornTube go to jail if they ever set foot there again?

       

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      Rabbi Killinger, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:07am

      Re: For the chicks

      And please also add the real deviants in that list too, which Thailand can do well arresting, torturing and hopefully eliminating too:

      Evangelical Conservative American/ Aussie/ Western missionaries!

       

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    gorehound (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:44am

    No one from the USA should go to Thailand.they want to play these games well it takes two to tango and your Country will lose out in a lot of tourist money.

    And by the way your King is a schmuck who like to stick fish up his butt for sexual fun.
    Now come to Portland, ME and try to arrest me.

    USA Boycott and Do Not Visit Thailand

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    This reminds me of old laws in the medieval period, where you could go to jail for insulting others (at least for insulting kings and nobles).

    Do the Thai people really want to keep reliving the dark ages like this?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:54am

    Another wakeup call for the Tardian nation. Guess what? If the internet doesn't stop at borders, then your liablity as a result of it doesn't stop either.

    You can't have it both ways - the internet crosses all borders, which means your content is published in all of those areas too.

    Suck it up.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 10:08am

      Re:

      I think you need a vacation. Your trolling is getting tired.

       

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      So you believe that everything online should be subject to all the laws of every country with internet access?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

        Re: Re:

        No, but I think that because of the "world wide" nature of the internet, you have to consider what happens when you put something out there.

        In the same manner that the internet doesn't stop at the border, the liability doesn't either.

         

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          The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Try not being such a douche bag, just for once!

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That is just priceless, now you too have to be careful and you need to know all the laws of all the countries or face being jailed for something you even did in that country, where is the UN again?

           

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      hmm (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

      Re:

      OK then so we assume ALL laws apply.

      For posting this you should go IMMEDIATELY to china and hand yourself in to the local authorities who frown deeply on anonymous commenters......

      Whilst your at it, don't forget to tell them your tissue type just in case you're an organ match for a party member.....

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 5:01pm

      Re:

      Another wake up call to you too, now every country in the world can just pinochet you.

       

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    A Monkey with Atitude, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    I think what is most annoying is that the USA plays the "Our law trumps your law", and Thailand plays the game but the only ones that ever lose are the innocent citizens caught between... so the people that really matter (the citizens, that drive the economy and make it possible to have a country in the first place) are getting screwed so the "government" can play big dick games.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Imagine that...

    Break a law in a foreign country, get arrested when you visit that country. Same thing would happen here if a foreigner threatened the president then came here.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:00am

      Re: Imagine that...

      What is even worse is that Thailand and the US have the same law about their head of state.

       

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        Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

        Re: Re: Imagine that...

        Really? If I insult the president, or even link to a site that insults the president of the US, I'll be arrested? I find that astonishing considering all the bad press our presidents have received over the years.

         

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        hmm (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:32pm

        Re: Re: Imagine that...

        things that link to insults about the US president..everything that begins with www and everything that begins with http://

        OH and a lot of stuff that begins with ftp:// as well

         

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      Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

      Re: Imagine that...

      "Break a law in a foreign country, get arrested when you visit that country."

      Good god, I'd better hope they don't have laws against jaywalking.

       

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    BentFranklin (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Thai embassy
    Royal Thai Embassy
    1024 Wisconsin Ave.
    N.W. Washington D.C. 20007
    Tel. (202) 944-3600
    Fax. (202) 944-3611

    State Department Thailand page should have travel warning for this.

    Thailand prime destination for child sex tourism.

     

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    Brian, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    There are a lot of US missionaries in Thailand. My wife has been there on a mission trip recently. Our church denomination probably has 20+ there right now. So there are reasons to go that don't involve tourism.

     

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    Michael (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Negative attention toward the king is not one-dimensional. The people he most fears in his country are more likely to be reading Chai's blog than the blog of Mike Masnick.

    Maybe there is an advantage in suppressing local dissent, to a certain degree.

     

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    Inquiring Mind, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    So what's the link? Time for the whole world to review this biography...

    ;-)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    I just added Thailand to my list of places to never visit.

     

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      The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:21pm

      Re:

      Any place with a King, Queen, Prince, or a friggin' Duke of Earl is to be avoided. And yeah, I'm talking about the UK, where the only problem I have with the "royals" is that they have not yet spontaneously combusted. One can only hope.

       

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    hmm (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

    Coward

    Obviously the king of Thailand is the biggest coward their country has to offer.

    He's afraid of bloggers, terrified of journalists, and probably shits his pants if a toddler glares at him the wrong way.

    Now, if he challenges people to DUEL with shotguns if they insult him......................

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 6:53pm

      Re: Coward

      Actually, by most accounts the king himself does not give a shit. It's just an over zealous police division (yes, a division specifically to stop people saying bad things about the king.)

       

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    Rekrul, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 5:26pm

    Sounds like the king of Thailand is a massive douche. He and his whole inbred family can take their stupid anti-insult laws and shove them up their collective asses.

    Gee, looks like I won't ever be being visiting Thailand. Not that I'd want to, it being run by a massive douche and all...

     

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    TheBigH (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 6:45pm

    How do we actually know what the King of Thailand thinks of this whole thing? According to the BBC article he is pretty sick and has been in hospital for a while, so he may not have even known about it. For all we know this is just an overzealous overreaction from some idiot bureaucrats, without to do with the King.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 7:06pm

    what Thai leadership is thinking?

    Nothing about these laws I'm sure.

    Mostly, I think the current PM is thinking "How do I clear my brothers name so he doesn't get arrested when he enters the country?" Far more important things on their mind than tourism income right now. I doubt they have noticed this issue at all.

    For those who don't know, the current prime minister in Thailand is the sister of a former PM who was removed by the military and subsequently found guilty of multiple counts of electoral fraud and abuse of position. He fled the country just before a ruling was handed down and has not come back since. His family and lackeys still own a good portion of the country and have bought their way into power twice now (removed once by way of convicting a bunch more people of electoral fraud, second time round they have not been found out yet: getting sneakier it seems.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 7:21pm

    I think every country should enact laws that make it a crime to commit a crime anywhere in the world.

    So then when American business people start getting jailed in foreign soil and they can't complaint because the US has done it too this would be a boom for lawyers all over the world.

    Imagine enacting laws that increase your jail time if you don't pay the fine for it in the country, any local business men will be looking at the internet to find out what other executives did wrong so they can be jailed if they ever set foot in their countries.

     

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    Philllip Gresham (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

    Was this the link?

    I wonder if this may have been the link about the Thai king.

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/The_King_Never_Smiles

     

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      BeeAitch (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 10:10pm

      Re: Was this the link?

      I think so. Link here (Google Books), and for you copytards who think you shouldn't even be able to preview it for free, you can buy it here at Amazon (wouldn't want to tempt you to share or anything).

       

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    fmhilton, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 9:32pm

    The King of Thailand is a god

    This means you don't go around dissing their god..or the other countries where gods exist.
    He's the supreme being there. People worship him literally-so don't confuse them with reality or your bad attitude.
    As to whether or not he knows about this? Who do you think made it a law? The Tooth Fairy?
    They like their power, and that's why this happens.
    I'm also not planning to visit Thailand any time soon. Hell, I can't even get out of this rotten state!

     

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    beijingyank, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:54pm

    Thailand

    Beautiful country, with the largest concentration of western whack jobs ever assembled in one place.

     

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    Spike, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 1:29am

    Lese Majeste

    Thailand has laws about what one can say about their king and the royal family and these laws are taken very seriously and strictly enforced. Most of the enforcement tends to be against foreigners because in Thailand pretty much everyone loves the King.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lese-majesty#Thailand

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    first visit, no comment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Much like draw Muhammad day, I smell a roast the Thai king day coming up soon

     

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    Rip, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 3:51am

    Actually, I'm not sure the King of Thailand has anything to do with this.
    I remember a case several years ago, where a young Swiss citizen was arrested in Thailand after getting drunk and deciding it would be fun to spray-paint insults to the king on a wall.
    The king intervened to have the guy sent back to Switzerland and said in a statement that he didn't want to see this man go to prison because he isn't a tyrant.
    Apparently it's one of those laws that the king doesn't approve of but doesn't have the authority or influence to strike down himself. Or maybe the king approves of the law and only intervened in the case of the Swiss guy because he felt a diplomatic incident would be bad for his country.

     

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    identicon
    Thomas Pryor, Oct 14th, 2011 @ 6:12am

    Comment on arrested American in Thailand

    He was arrested in May during a holiday in the kingdom and accused of translating a banned unauthorised biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej into Thai and publishing it on the Internet while living in the United States.

     

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