‘The Bangkok Post is reporting that two individuals were arrested under Thailand’s new “Anti-Fake News Center” for spreading false information about the coronavirus which authorities have said has “induced panic.”
“The Anti-Fake News Center is compiling evidence to root out the source of fake news,” Buddhipongse said. “We’re working with the cybercrime police, but I have to admit that it’s difficult to identify suspects since they’re anonymous.”
The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta added this was a result of a “crackdown on misleading information being posted on social media in relation to the new coronavirus.”
DES Ministry and the Royal Thai Police’s Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) obtained court warrants to search 15 locations and found that there were six suspected cases related to fake news that have been causing fear and confusion surrounding the coronavirus.
Of those six suspects, only two were charged under the 2017 Computer Crime Act’s Section 14 (2), he said. The charges were in relation to false reports about infections in Pattaya and an edited video clip of a Chinese man collapsing according to the authorities.
Section 14 (2) concerns the “uploading of false information into the computer system, which is bound to damage national security and cause public disorder.”
One of the individuals was identified by Khasodenglish who wrote, “Thitima Kongthon was arrested at her house in Bangkok’s Minburi district after she posted on her Facebook that a patient infected with the virus had died in Pattaya.”
The other, Ritthisak Wongthonglueang, was apprehended at his house in Taweewattana district. Buddhipongse said that Wongthonglueang had confessed that he posted a video of a person collapsing blaming it on the coronavirus in an unrelated incident. He added the video was posted to mislead the public according to Buddhipongse.
The two people will be charged with disseminating false information, which carries up to five years in prison if they are found guilty. Yes, you read that right — five years in prison for spreading a post online.’