Police detain journalist’s wife over social media link to ‘insulting’ royal pictures

Thai police on Friday questioned the wife of a British journalist over his social media links to unflattering photos of the kingdom’s crown prince. Detectives said the photos were fake as they detained Noppawan Bunluesilp, the 39-year-old Thai wife of former Bangkok-based correspondent and strident Thai monarchy critic Andrew MacGregor Marshall. They were asking about a Twitter and Facebook post linked to a web article in German tabloid Bild, with photos showing 63-year-old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn at an airport in Germany. On Friday morning the link to the page was blocked in Thailand for carrying “inappropriate content”, while Mr Marshall said his wife, known as Ploy, had been released.

The pictures were doctored. The culprit is Andrew MacGregor Marshall who has violated lese majeste laws for several years

Thitirat Nongharnpitak, commander of Central Investigation Bureau

Insulting the monarchy carries harsh penalties in Thailand. Each charge of lese majeste - insults, threats or defamation of Thailand’s leading royals - carries up to 15 years in jail. Thitirat Nongharnpitak, commander of Central Investigation Bureau, accused Mr Marshall, who he said “has acted from overseas to attack”. Police have confiscated a laptop, iPad and other documents. Mr Marshall is an outspoken critic of the Thai monarchy and has tackled the subject in a book which is banned inside the kingdom. He said his wife, who was pictured arrived at the police station with their three-year-old son in her arms, had nothing to do with his work.

It’s a huge shock. The key point is my wife is not involved at all in my journalism. We’d always been concerned that it might be dangerous for my wife to visit Thailand especially since the military coup but she hadn’t seen her family for a couple of years.

Andrew MacGregor Marshall