Police to probe Future Forward spokeswoman’s controversial pictorial post

Police are to look into the Facebook and Instagram pages of Future Forward spokeswoman Pannika “Chor” Wanich to find out if she posted any text messages or images which are violations of the Computer Crime Act, said Pol Lt-Gen Piya Uthayo, the national assistant police chief and head of TACTICS (Thailand’s Action Task Force for Information Technology Crime Suppression).

The move came after Ms. Pannika, also a party-list MP, has been heavily criticized for her Facebook posting of a picture, on her graduation day about a decade ago, which showed a classmate pointing a finger at a picture of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and which her detractors have criticized as inappropriate.

Pol Lt-Gen Piya said today that TACTICS, Special Branch and legal affairs police have been instructed to look into the case, adding however that, at this stage, he could not say for sure that Ms. Kannika has broken any law.

He said that her classmates, who are seen in the picture taken in 2010, will also be investigated.

Meanwhile, political activist Srisuwan Janya said he would submit a petition to the National Anti-Corruption Commission tomorrow (Tuesday) seeking an investigation to determine whether Ms. Pannika has breached political etiquette, which could lead to her suspension from performing her duties as an MP.

Earlier on Sunday, Ms. Pannika admitted that the picture in question was inappropriate and she pleaded with her critics not to use the Monarchy issue to attack here politically.

Her online fans have launched a campaign to give her moral support. The #Savepannikar hashtag topped Thailand’s Twitter chart today.

The embattled Future Forward spokeswoman explained why there was no caption for that controversial picture, saying that, at the time she took the picture, Thailand was still reeling from the effects of the 2006 coup and many students, herself included, have grown up under military dictatorship.

She insisted that she believes in democratic rule with the King as the head of the state, but she rejects the use of the Monarchy as a pretext for political oppression.


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