More lese-majeste Folie : Australian teacher-author arrested

[Via Bangkok Pundit who translated an article from the thai press]

A 41-year-old Australian man in Thailand has been charged for insulting the King.

Harry Nicolaides from Melbourne was arrested in Bangkok on Sunday as he arrived in the country.

He has been visiting Thailand since 2003 and has written a book which mentions members of the royal family.

Mr Nicolaides graduated from La Trobe University in 1988 and is also a blogger.

More recently he was a teacher in hospitality at the Mae Fah Luang University in the northern Thai town of Chiang Rai.

The ABC understands Mr Nicolaides was refused bail and is currently in the Bangkok Remand Centre. (ABC News)

I was right to create a new category “Lese-majete” on this blog… we have new cases every week. 😉

As for this story let’s wait a little bit for the foreign press to take care of this issue. And as asual, you’ll see after the thai authorities backpedaling like crazy to cover up the controversy.

The last case against a foreigner was… against Jonathan Head a journalist from… the BBC !

This law is one of the shames of Thailand. But the more they use it, the more absurd it appears. They don’t understand this critical point.

It’s a very powerfull tool to suppress all kind of anoying debates and political opponents (or for that matter anybody)… but it’s a tool that get rusty when it is used

So go for it ! Let’s arrest many thais and foreigners as well, for lese-majeste ! Let’s give it more and more public scrutinity, more promotion.

10 Responses to “More lese-majeste Folie : Australian teacher-author arrested”

  1. 1 Billy Bangkok 3 September 2008 at 10:10 am

    The moment I realized that this whole love of the king thing had gone too far was when I asked a girlfriend of mine what would happen when the king dies. I was curious as to how the new king was selected. Would it automatically go to his son? Would there be an anointed one? I had no idea.

    Her response was similar to if I had farted in public. She had a look of shock and horror on her face. She looked at me and said “I can’t even imagine such things.”

  2. 2 ThaiCrisis 3 September 2008 at 11:32 am

    Indeed, this type of reaction is very common…

    Therefore, no need to go to Harward to figure out that… well… we’re going to have a big problem when a large number of thais will realize that nature has, eventually, always the last word.

    And I don’t speak about politics there… just about emotional reactions.

  3. 3 Bedwyr 3 September 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I have had the same comment about the HMK never dying. And I was just as shocked.

    The Thais draw their sense of identity from HMK. They can scarcely do anything on their own and HMK is considered to be ‘the father of the Thai nation’. Which strongly suggests that Thais are like unto little children, a suggestion which accords with experience and the available psychological and value systems profiles.

    So when HMK dies, a part of the Thai identity is going to die with him. And that is going to be a sorry thing to behold. The social dislocation is going to be enormous, and I suggest that because their supernatural attributions to HMK, their very faith is going to be brought into question.

    The problem is that unto all things there is a due season and much as it will be a sad day for many, the Bangkok elite will rush to secure another totem, and the ‘education’ will begin again.

    Personally I think it is scandalous that Forbes says HMK is the richest monarch in the world. How can he be when Thailand is so poor and receives so much foreign aid? Obviously a disgraceful callumny, fit for lese majeste if ever anything was. Arrest the publication and all its readers, hanging is too good for them I say.

    Por-jai is the only answer. If you are poor while the Bangkok elite are filthy rich and want to become richer, well, that is just your karma, so be happy in your poverty. Now get out there and dig the rice-paddies and stop whining.

    Lese majeste is how the Bangkok elite stay elite, pure and simple.


  4. 4 chinesethai 3 September 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Despite admittedly a PAD supporter, I think this law should be abolished because it became clear that the law was abused by political enemies and the police.

    Guys, not everyone in PAD is royalist. I am not a royalist but I am sure a republican Thailand will be much much worse. I can pinpoint their names. However, they join PAD because all of them share an agenda, which is to drive out corruption and destroy Thaksin’s remnants.

    Don’t count me in! And I believe many Thais are not that foolish. They have realized that that day will come one day and some of them, including me, have prepared for it by taking a foreign citizenship or having a plan in place to move abroad. I did both. I will to People’s Republic of China. 🙂 Some who aren’t capable to move abroad have also prepared. I and many others foresee a turbulent time ahead – Thaksin’s return and bloody clashes between factions throughout the society.

  5. 5 ThaiCrisis 3 September 2008 at 1:39 pm

    CT : I think you should be honest and aknowledge that only a small number of thais individuals, members of the elite, can design “contingency plans” like you did… 😉
    Not many thais can fly to China, “in case…”.

    And your reaction actually shows that Bedwyr is right : this “event” is going to have tremendous consequences on the thai society.

    This is exactly what I wrote when I opeened this blog end of may 2007…

    Days pass… and all the past and current events show me that.. well… my “intuition” was right.

  6. 6 kv 3 September 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I share similar experience, the best Thai friend of mine, being smart and educated woman, just awkwardly changes subject immediatly if I have ever asked her does she have any idea what happens when king dies. That or either totally uncontrollable almost physical reaction of denial of the whole possibility… 😦 Another friend of mine, partly Indian and almost the most British friend of non-Brits, born and raised in Bangkok, even her can’t ever say anything about the whole subject. She just says it: I cant discuss it and then changes. And she is so anti-Thaksin, anti-Pad and I have always felt that anti-monarchy in her too but somehow still, just asking her does she have any idea about future regarding the royal family, makes her go blank. Well, she has planned to move away from Thailand anyway, good for her…

  7. 7 chinesethai 4 September 2008 at 2:48 am


    Most Thai citizens of Sikh Indian descent hold “2nd passports”, either British or Australian. Unlike ethnic Chinese like me, they are already alienated in the society because of their distinguished physical appearance.

    A family that owns a large construction company (I don’t want to name them) hold US passports.

    An increasing number of Thais also have acquired Canadian and Australian passports as these 2 countries are still open for more migrants.

  8. 8 loris 5 September 2008 at 4:00 am


    ‘ If you are poor while the Bangok elite are filthy rich…well that is your karma…so be happy in your poverty’ Isn’t that the self sufficient economy theory? Like, be happy for what you have. It’s always the rich who talk about that, not the poor.As for the lèse-majesté, it’s a joke…..I think they took more than they could chew with Mr.Jonathan Head.

  9. 9 Bedwyr 5 September 2008 at 4:36 am

    Loris: hi. Well spotted. And the inventor of sufficiency ‘theory’, the one that tells people to be happy with what they have (or, more to the point, with what they do not have)? Would that be the worlds richest something-or-other?

    As for ‘theory’, it is probably what passes for ‘theory’ in Thailand (ie a half-baked crackpot idea that some bright spark thinks up over breakfast – same as most new government laws and ‘initiatives’) but I doubt any of the real economic approaches need worry too much about being replaced. After all, it is only a bit of home-spun philosophy designed to keep the poor from rising up in indignation as they have done in many other ‘developing nations’ (aka 3rd-world banana republics).

    I saw an analysis a few months ago that Thais pay 8 times more per capita for their institution than the Brits do for theirs. Must make the poor in Isaan feel all warm inside.



  10. 10 Jenny 20 January 2009 at 6:39 am

    The lese majeste law is a DISGRACE to Thailand and Thailand should be ashamed that this law is still enforced. The arrest this week of Giles Ji Ungpakorn for supposedly violating lese majeste laws is just a joke. He called the PAD a royally and elite supported institution (which they WERE!) and he’s put in JAIL for that?

    Thailand goes more and more backward every year and I’m glad I left when I did. You couldn’t PAY me to teach in Thailand again. Thais and the Thai government deserve what they get!

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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