A factory worker named Thanakorn Siripaiboon was charged Monday with making “sarcastic” remarks about King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s dog and could face a total of 37 years in prison for his social media posts, the New York Times reports.
The newspaper said the story highlights Thailand’s campaign to rebuff critics of the country’s military rulers and hold accountable those who specifically defame the king, the queen, the heir apparent or the regent — and apparently the royal dog.
“I never imagined they would use the law for the royal dog,” said Thanakorn’s lawyer, Anon Numpa. “It’s nonsense.”
Anon said the exact insult that was made toward the dog, Tongdaeng, or “Copper,” was not divulged by the military.
According to Wikipedia, the King’s furry sidekick is much beloved in Thailand, and affectionately called “ma’am.” The King adopted Tongdaeng in 1998 from the litter of a stray dog that had been taken in by a medical center he had dedicated. In 2002, he wrote a biography about the pup titled “The Story of Thong Daeng.”
Thanakorn was arrested at his home in a Bangkok suburb last week and arraigned on Monday.