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Thai Gov't Sets Up Site For Snitching On Royals' Critics 329

Posted by timothy
from the yes-yes-the-king-is-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a move that would make the old eastern German Stasi green with envy, the Thai government has modernized a system that allows citizens to snitch on fellow citizens. 'Internet users are being urged to show their loyalty to the king by contributing to a new website called protecttheking.net, which has been set up by a parliamentary committee. On the site's front page it is described as a means for Thai people to show their loyalty to the king by protecting him from what it calls misunderstandings about him. It calls on all citizens to inform on anyone suspected of insulting or criticising the monarchy.' An large unknown population of political prisoners are currently being held for 3 to 15 years in Thai prisons for being interpreted as insulting the monarchy."
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Thai Gov't Sets Up Site For Snitching On Royals' Critics

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  • by bconway (63464) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:44PM (#27471147) Homepage

    Sorry, had to be said.

    • by iYk6 (1425255) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:53PM (#27471243)

      I was thinking of writing in myself. Anonymously, of course.

      "I am here to report myself, who frequently claims that the king has inappropriate sexual relations with monkeys. My name is Anonymous."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by palegray.net (1195047)
        Screw the anonymous part, I'll use my real name. I can be fairly creative when it comes to visuals, too.
        • I saw that link and went to it like a moth to flame.

          Of course I'm going to report anonymously because I do like going to Thailand. But Anything to help overload and confuse their servers.

          • Advise as many folks as possible at the State Department of your next trip, post a bunch of blog entries about your plans, call your Senator to let him/her know you'll be taking lots of pictures and keeping detailed notes on your trip, and once everything is confirmed as "high visibility" go ahead and post your thoughts on the new site. Be sure to call a couple of CNN anchors to let them know about all the steps you've taken, and dare Thai officials to do a goddamned thing about your online activities once you get there.

            Worst case scenario: you get detained for a couple of days, get international exposure from human rights groups and major media outlets, and sell a book deal on the whole charade. I'd do it myself, but frankly I'm too busy with other pursuits.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Ash Vince (602485)

              You do realise you are subject to other countries laws right? And other countries can pass whatever laws they choose.

              It is quite possible the law Thailand has against insulting their monarch applies to people in other countries. Thailand could then apply to extradite you to their country to face trial. In this case extradition would be unlikely but if you are stupid enough to rock up in their country of you own accord there is nothing the US State department can do apart from provide you a lawyer.

              A good exa

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                "You do realise you are subject to other countries laws right? And other countries can pass whatever laws they choose."

                Yes, they can pass whatever laws they choose; and when those laws are oppressive and specifically deny people certain human rights, challenging them in any way possible is an action which has integrity and validity.

                Let's say a country passes a law under which member of a particular racial group are all subject to execution by the state. Anyone caught sheltering or providing help to any m

        • And yet your comment is bland and uncreative.
    • by ajs (35943)

      I think it would be much more amusing to have a bot keep submitting the name of the King of Thailand.

  • Ants (Score:5, Informative)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:45PM (#27471153)

    Those people really are nothing but ants.

    That, and their king has a fugly wife and a really dumb-looking hat.

    • Re:Ants (Score:5, Funny)

      by jagilbertvt (447707) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:48PM (#27471183)

      I would inform them of your insults, but apparently their site is slashdotted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StarkRG (888216)

      Only on slashdot would such a post be modded insightful. Not that I disagree.

  • Slashdotted? (Score:4, Informative)

    by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:46PM (#27471161) Journal
    Anyone else actually try and go to the website? I did and I got nothing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)
      Maybe they have a pf rule in to block non-Thais.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Keen Anthony (762006)

        Would the site respond at all in that case? I just get read errors after a while.

        But maybe it is for the best as I have it on good authority that His Majesty isn't actually quite "the Great" at all, that most of his $35 billion fortune is in fact Monopoly money, that he molests dead farm animals in the pale moonlight while "Twilight Time" by The Platters plays gently on his Zune, and that the queen is a whore and the prince holds the money. LÃse majesté crimes are fun!

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by itsthebin (725864)
          from a TRUE connection in bangkok it comes back after a while with a blank page with firefox
        • Heres a hint: if you need a quick way out of Thailand, confess to a sex crime in the USA. It will get you extradited no worries.
    • by iYk6 (1425255)

      I attempted to ping protecttheking.net, and got "ping: unknown host protecttheking.net". Perhaps they haven't set up the nameservers, or that info hasn't propogated yet.

      • ping www.protecttheking.net PING www.protecttheking.net (61.19.218.138) 56(84) bytes of data. ^C --- www.protecttheking.net ping statistics --- 4 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 2999ms www?
    • I'm thinking that maybe the only DNS servers that point to the correct IP address are the ones in the country, because the IP address site currently resolved to is parked -- which isn't something any government would likely do with an official server.
  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:46PM (#27471167)
    Who wants to help me flood it with fake comments?
  • Fair enough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:49PM (#27471193)

    Report every government official (from diplomats to police), every relative of a government official, and everyone related to the king.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is exactly what needs to happen. We'll need some thai translators though to make it harder for them to sift through.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If enough people make false reports, they'll have to set up a site to report people who report people.

  • by syousef (465911) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:52PM (#27471225) Journal

    Their government try to sell the country as a tourist destination. Well you know what, if I have tourist dollars to spend you can bet I won't be visiting a country where I can go to jail just for criticising someone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yep. Glad I've booked my Australia-UK flight on Singapore Airlines. I've been Thai Airways before, but no more. Too much risk of being offloaded at Bangkok for "insulting" their king during the flight or being stranded at their airport for weeks as the government falls apart.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Daengbo (523424)

        Thailand has effectively had its economy destroyed in the last year. First, a group of people closed down the airport for weeks and caused the tourism industry to lose 50%. Later, the export economy failed because of the economic downturn worldwide. Millions of people have lst their jobs in the last year.

        When you add the political unrest happening their now, the high unemployment is sure to cause some real problems in Thailand over the next year or two.

        I wouldn't make any Thai travel plans for the foreseeab

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lehk228 (705449)
      if you go to foreign countries and publicly insult their leaders you are kind of a douche bag.
    • by conureman (748753)

      Spring in Alberta, mmmmm.

  • by Maxhrk (680390) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:54PM (#27471249) Journal
    A brave american from here in US want to say,

    Thai King, you suck.

    (ok i am coward hiding in US somewhere, anyway.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, you're not, Maxhrk.

      But, I am.

  • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:02PM (#27471307) Homepage

    Either spam it full of garbage or some important people close to the king.

  • can now officially welcome it's new internet-friendly overlords
  • by basementman (1475159) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:06PM (#27471349) Homepage
    No way this could be used to insult the king or anything. I might have to report my neighbor, Thaikingsucksbigcock Smith for some things he told me the other day.
  • Sounds like they are more worried that citizens (or I guess its serfs) may understand too much.

  • The Thai King (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:09PM (#27471373)
    The Thai King has very little real power but he yields immense moral authority and is very popular. Thailand is legally a constitutional monarchy but in reality the situation is much more complex. They are supposed to be run by an elected gov't (which is usually a little bit corrupt) but that rule is enforced by the military and about every 10-15 years, there is a military coup (often fairly or completely bloodless) that throws out an exceptionally corrupt gov't and reboots.

    In some ways, the Thai Gov't kinda reminds me of an unpatched Windows Machine that needs lots of reboots and eventually a disk-wipe to get working again -- but talking about the gov't structure itself doesn't really explain why insulting the King is a big deal.

    Again, like I said... the King is a "moral authority". In many ways, he's the Thai equivalent to the Pope although more in the moral sense than religious sense -- he is a man who is loved by the people and is wished to be seen as "good" by most Thai's. Insulting the King (or Queen) is a personal insult to many Thai people and is one of the few things the Thai in general do not tolerate well overall. Insulting the King in Thailand is the equivalent of bad-mouthing the Pope while visiting the Vatican.

    That said, I'd rather visit Thailand again anyday than the many countries in the world that are significantly less tolerant [timesonline.co.uk].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Once you bring in the jackbooted thugs and the jail time "moral authority" is off the table. At least the papacy hasn't had legal power in quite some time, so the pope confines himself to wearing a dress and giving terrible medical advice.
    • by MrMista_B (891430)

      "Moral"?

      Are you joking?

      Locking up anyone who criticizes you is /not/ moral.

    • Re:The Thai King (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Monday April 06, 2009 @01:44AM (#27472321)

      Insulting the King in Thailand is the equivalent of bad-mouthing the Pope while visiting the Vatican.

      Or shitting on the star spangled banner in front of the white house.

      See? Now some of you might get it - a corrupt republic is no better than a monarchy if all you've done is replace the monarch with a flag.

  • Silly Thais. The king should be protecting his people, not the other way around.

    M

  • by Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:16PM (#27471427)

    If you think they aren't serious, check out the following recent story about a lucky Aussie who supposedly criticised the Thai Royal Family. I say lucky because, after much protest and legal fighting, he was deported after he'd been jailed for 6 years !

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/jailed-author-back-on-australian-soil-20090221-8dx7.html [theage.com.au]
     

  • Greetings Thai King!

    I saw your mother last night, and I hummped her like a little bitch!
    Kind Regards,
    Grandpa Marsh
    South Park, Colorado
  • My first criticism of the king would involve his taste in hats.
  • So...who's going to register protecttehking.net and put up an nice pie-in-the-king's-face flash game?

    Don't look at me I'm the brains of this operation.

  • by nathan.fulton (1160807) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:44PM (#27471659) Journal
    http://www.thekoratpost.com/Protectthekingwebsiteenglishdetails.html [thekoratpost.com]

    It contains, in part, this: How To Report Tips

    Tips â" This link provides a couple of methods on how to report tips in. One method is to mail to P.O. Box 999, Bangkok . Another indicated is to email directly to protecttheking@parliament.go.th As well, there is an in-page form in Thai for users to complete.

    Law & Punishment

    This page has five separate links under this title, numbered as shown for convenience. The unnumbered links are:

    1. Article 2 - Use of Criminal Law

    This section is a verbatim lift from Thai Criminal Code Chapter 2, Articles no. 4-7.

    Article 6 - Principals and Supporters [of cr= iminal acts, i.e., lÃse majesté]

    This section is a verbatim lift from Thai Criminal Code Chapter 6, Articles no. 83-89.

    3. Article 7 â" Concurrence of Offenses
    This section is a verbati= m lift from Thai Criminal Code Chapter 7, Concurrence of Offenses, Articles no. 90-91.

    4. Article 9 â" Statute of Limitations

    This section is a verbati= m lift from Thai Criminal Code Chapter 9, Prescription (statute of limitations.), Articles no. 95-101.

    5. Part 2 â" Offenses Related to National Security; Article 2, Offenses Against the king, queen, heir to the throne or regent. [Translatorâ(TM)s note: This section is a verbatim lift from the = Thai Criminal Code Book II, Specific Offenses, Title 1, Offenses Relating to The Security of the Kingdom, Articles no. 107-112.
    • by 1 a bee (817783)

      When repressive governments set up offices and instruments to have citizens spy on each other, what usually happens is that it just becomes a tool for parties to private disputes to hassle each other. It becomes easy to set up a bunch of false witnesses and turn in your adversary to the authorities.

      And the government employees who run this racket, soon discover this abuse. And in an effort to separate the "good" reports from the "bad", they become gatekeepers. So now if you want to turn your adversary in,

  • Report (Score:3, Funny)

    by Alsee (515537) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:51PM (#27471719) Homepage

    Report: My neighbor was spreading rumors that the King was paranoid and an evil oppressive dictator imprisoning anyone who questioned or insulted him.

    -

  • It's supposed to read:

    1. Wear silly hats
    2. Arrest people for making fun of silly hat wearer
    3. ??????
    4. Profit!

    Instead the king is pulling a:

    1. Wear silly hats
    2. Arrest people for making fun of silly hat wearer
    3. Ruin lives needlessly
    4. ???????

    There is no profit!

  • Awesome - (Score:3, Informative)

    by bizitch (546406) on Monday April 06, 2009 @12:21AM (#27471891) Homepage

    I clicked the link for the snitching website - but it didn't work right away - so to be sure - I just clicked the link again - over and over and over and over - but it still didn't work ...

  • by LandownEyes (838725) on Monday April 06, 2009 @12:28AM (#27471925)
    Bet they'll be pissed tomorrow when they check the submissions and it's nothing but "First post!!!!1'.
  • monarchies are a ridiculous anachronism

    uk, thailand, japan: follow nepal please, lose your bullshit historical baggage

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepalese_monarchy [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737)

      Why should they, if it isn't causing problems? Last I looked, in Japan the monarchy wasn't even politically relevant or a problem.

      Last I checked, the king of Thailand was pardoning most people arrested under the law. This is the government abusing their King to silence critics.

      Or just idiocy to a phenominal degree,

      • by u38cg (607297)
        The big problem is that the King can't pardon anyone until someone has been actually sentenced. Rather convenient when *you* set the trial date.

        This issue really has nothing to do with monarchy; even in the UK similar laws exist, we're just sensible enough to ignore them most of the time. More to the point, Prime Minister Blair was bad enough. We don't like the idea of President Blair.

  • I think people here get wrong idea. You should respect the local law. Many people here try to say it is okay to drive 200 km/h in US just because driving like that in Afghanistan is NOT illegal. I think many people should respect to other cultures. Don't set anything in developed countries as the world standard. I don't think it is the fault of King that someone is found guilty of lese-majeste. It is that person's duty to know the law or at least the culture / special law of where he or she is going. The
  • by jrhawk42 (1028964) on Monday April 06, 2009 @12:52AM (#27472053)
    King Bhumibol Adulyadej is actually against the lÃse majesté law. So you're probably asking yourself why is this a problem? It's a problem for two reasons. One is the Thai people for the most part love their King, and insulting him is like insulting the country. Highly conservative groups feel like this is treason and should be treated as such. The other reason the lÃse majesté law is still in effect is that the current Thai government relies on the good name of the king. In their eyes if the King is no longer respected than the government that is supported by the king is no longer respected either. Yea it doesn't make much sense to normal people, but these are politicians we are talking about. I'd also like to point out that the Thai Monarchy is a shining example of how a Monarchy should behave. The Thai's have good reason to love their king.
    • by MrMista_B (891430)

      Good example of how a Monarchy should be have?

      Seriously?

      You think Monarchy that locks up anyone who criticizes it, in any way is... a 'good example' of a monarchy?

      You're nuts.

      • by achurch (201270) on Monday April 06, 2009 @02:01AM (#27472405) Homepage

        You think Monarchy that locks up anyone who criticizes it, in any way is... a 'good example' of a monarchy?

        Perhaps you missed the part where the OP wrote, "King Bhumibol Adulyadej is actually against the lèse majesté law"? It's the government that's at fault here, not the King. And notice that he's not grabbing power from the government to abolish the law himself, either; he's only stating his wishes and hoping that the true seat of power (the government) listens to him.

  • King Bhumibol? With a name and a hat like that, one can't help but make fun of you.

    Seriously: the EU and US should break off ties with Thailand until the nation gets real about political freedoms and human rights, and tourists should stay away.

  • An large unknown population of political prisoners are currently being held for 3 to 15 years in Thai prisons for being interpreted as insulting the monarchy.

    Two words: grow up.

  • by NewsWatcher (450241) on Monday April 06, 2009 @01:21AM (#27472195)

    Well, it looks like it is time to sink the boot into Thais again, and their over-the-top laws in relation to Lese Majesty (criticising the royals).

    I agree that people should be free to criticise anyone in a free society, and that locking people up for up to 15 years for something as minor as criticising a royal is ludicrous, here are some facts you may not be aware of:

    1. Thailand's king Bhumibol Adulyadej said a few years ago in a birthday speech that the law of lese majesty was outdated and he would pardon anyone found guilty of the crime. He has since kept his word.

    2. The crime of lese majesty came about in Thailand because under their constitution it is illegal for the royal family (who are supposed to be above the rest of society) to comment on the day-to-day running of society. They cannot respond to political attacks, nor can they react if people personally attack their character.

    3. Because the Thai royals cannot respond to attacks, and take legal action or comment at any defamatory comments about them, the crime of lese majesty was inserted into the country's constitution, as a safeguard against political attacks on the royals.

    4. Every time there is a general election the parliament has to vote on whether to can the lese majesty laws. Despite the king saying the laws no longer need to be in existence, the Thai people revere the king, and would vote out of office any politician who voted to abandon the lese majesty laws, hence the laws remain.

    People in Thailand do not have the same freedom of speech rights that people in the west do, but to portray the king as some sort of evil ogre who is so sensitive to criticms that he cannot deal with an insult is just ridiculous.

    This website will no doubt create a bureaucratic headache for the king, but should not be seen as evidence that Thailand is a dictatorial state.

  • Erich Mielke (head of the Stasi) and Erich Honecker (head of the GDR) meet in prison after the fall.

    Honecker: "Ya know, secretly, I collected the jokes the people told about me."
    Mielke: "Hey, what a coincidence! I collected the people."

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