Thai YouTuber faces legal woes after Miss Thailand dress comments
A Thai YouTube personality is facing defamation charges after making comments about dresses worn by Miss Thailand Sophida Kanchanarin, one of which was designed by a daughter of the country's king, for the Miss Universe pageant.
The monarchy is considered sacred in Thai society and few dare to criticise the institution for fear of running afoul of strict royal insult laws, which are supposed to only cover the king, queen, heir-apparent and regent.
But criticism of other members of the royal family is still considered off-limits for members of the Thai public.
The fashion fracas started on Monday after Ms Wanchaleom Jamneanphol, who goes by the nickname Mixy Bigmouth, made unflattering Facebook comments about a blue gown worn by Miss Thailand and designed by Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana.
Ms Wanchaleom's comments went viral and Mr Kitjanut Chaiyosburana, an aspiring politician contesting next year's national election, said he filed defamation charges against her.
He added: "I think Internet idols are like an actor or actress with many followers... so if they commit wrongdoing online, it should not end up with just apologies."
Under local law, any Thai citizen is permitted to file defamation charges on behalf of another person, and convictions can carry prison sentences of up to two years.
A Thai police spokesman confirmed that Ms Wanchaleom was under investigation but she has yet to be formally charged.
Ms Wanchaleom removed her original post and apologised for her comments on Monday.
She wrote: "To Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, I had no intention to insult the monarchy. I feel remorse and regret for this incident."
She also promised to exercise "wisdom and prudence" for future social media postings. - AFP