A 52-year-old German expat in Pattaya filed a complaint at Nongprue Police Station on Sunday claiming his name and photo had been used to create a fake Facebook account that was full of anti-monarchy posts.
The German resident told police he was alerted by a friend to the fake Facebook profile in his name that regularly posted anti-monarchy pictures and messages in Thai and English.
He insisted the Facebook profile was not his own and offered a 30,000-Baht reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the person who created the defamatory Facebook profile. The Bangkok Post quotes the German expat as saying he had
lived in Thailand for a long time and loved the country, as well as had respect for the highest institution. He went to the police to report the incident because he wanted everyone to know he was innocent.
Khaosod English identify the man as Mr. Manfred Peter Gallus and note that his “personal photographs indicate he is either a member or associates with members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.”
Interestingly, the report adds that “many of the messages are written in poor Thai and seem the likely results of automated translation,” suggesting that the culprit is a foreigner himself. It’s also most likely that the impostor is an acquaintance of some sort of Mr. Gallus, although the victim doesn’t mention any personal foes.
Thailand’s monarchy and members of the royal family are protected from criticism by the strictest lese majeste laws in the world. According to Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, “whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” In recent years, critics of the law claim, it has been increasingly used to silence political dissent.
In December last year, a Thai factory worker was arrested for clicking “like” and sharing a doctored image of the revered Thai king on Facebook. The 27-year-old reportedly faces 32 years in prison.
In August last year, a 48-year-old Thai man was found guilty of posting messages defaming the monarchy in six posts on Facebook. He was tried in camera and sentenced to 10 years on each count, with the 60-year prison term only halved to 30 years after he pleaded guilty.
In a separate lese majeste case, a 29-year-old mother of two was sentenced to 56 years in jail for a total of seven Facebook posts that allegedly insulted the royals. Her sentence was also halved only after a guilty plea.