Mob Demands Woman Accused of Royal Defamation Kneel Before Portrait

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SAMUI — For the third time in as many days, a mob gathered to demand punishment for alleged online royal defamation Sunday, this time on Koh Samui, where police forced a public act of contrition from the suspect to satisfy the crowd.

More than 500 people gathered at the Bophut Police Station to watch Umaporn Sarasat, who was arrested earlier in the day and charged with royal defamation, prostrate before a portrait of His Majesty the King Bhumibol, who died Thursday.

After the 43-year-old woman was arrested, the crowd assembled outside to demand she pay respect to the king’s portrait at the police station, Col. Thewet Pluemsutthi said. It took dozens of police to protect Umaporn from being physically assaulted by the crowd, he added.

In a video of the incident, two officers drag her out of the police station holding both her arms before she kneels before the portrait while being filmed by the crowd and media.

Umaporn was arrested over online records in which she appeared to criticize the Royal Family were found online Thursday, Thewet said.

The demonstrators dispersed in the afternoon after police told them that they would investigate and question Umaporn further.