American Jailed in Thailand over Blog Posting
The 54-year-old Thai-born man lived in the U.S. state of Colorado for around 30 years before returning recently to Thailand for treatment for high blood pressure and gout, the website said. If the allegations are true, the infractions would have been committed while he lived in America — where they are legal — raising concern about the reach of Thai law and how it is applied to Thai nationals and foreign visitors.
Tharit said the man’s Thai name was Lerpong Wichaikhammat. Walter M. Braunohler, the U.S. Embassy spokesman in Bangkok, identified the American as Joe Gordon and said a consular officer visited him on Friday morning. He declined comment further, saying only that officials were following the case "very closely.
The charges stem from posts on blog that the King apparently didn’t like:
Thai authorities said Friday they arrested an American citizen on charges he insulted the country’s monarchy, in part by posting a link on his blog four years ago to a banned book about the Southeast Asian nation’s ailing king.
The man is also suspected of translating, from English into Thai, portions of "The King Never Smiles" — an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej — and posting them online along with articles he wrote that allegedly defame the royal family, said Tharit Pengdith, who heads the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand’s equivalent of the FBI.
It raises an interesting question as to why the Thai government would be willing to create an international incident with the US over some blog posts, not to mention the question of how Thai law could have jurisdiction (but then again, the internet is tricky that way).
This is also something quite foreign to Americans who not only actively insult their leadership on a constant basis, but often relish the opportunity.