Thailand. In January, southern Thailand suffered major
flooding after unusually heavy and prolonged rains. At least
40 people were killed as a result of the floods, which
affected over 1.5 million Thais.
At a televised ceremony in April, King Maha
Vajiralongkorn wrote under the country's new constitution.
According to the military junta, which drafted the
constitution, the king's approval meant that democratic
elections would be held at the end of 2018. However,
according to critics, the new constitution meant major
restrictions on democracy.
In the spring, southern Thailand was shaken by several
serious attacks and bombings. According to
Countryaah.com, over 500
shots were fired at a police booth and at least twelve
police officers were injured in the province of Yala in
April. In the city of Pattani, 60 people were injured in May
when a car bomb exploded outside a grocery store, and in the
capital Bangkok exploded in a military-owned hospital that
month. In the explosion, which took place on the three-year
anniversary of the military coup, 24 people were injured.
Authorities threatened to sue the US company Facebook in
Thailand if Facebook did not remove 131 links that violated
Thai laws - mainly the majors laws - before May 16. However,
after the deadline expired, Facebook had not taken any
action. Almost a week later, a police spokesman stated that
not only those who have published insulting posts against
the king would be chased by police, but also those who read.
According to media reports, since the 2014 military coup,
the judgments for majestic crimes had increased from a
handful to several hundred, at the same time as the
punishment became more severe. For example, a lawyer
arrested in April risked 150 years in prison for "ten cases
of royal slander and three cases of incitement". Among other
things, the lawyer is said to have assisted members of a
political opposition group with legal assistance. He must
also have been a legal advisor in a case concerning royal
Over the summer, more than 60 people were sentenced to
long prison sentences in the country's largest human
trafficking trial. Among those convicted were a general in
the Thai army as well as police and local politicians. The
criminal investigation began in 2015 after abandoned refugee
camps with over 30 dead were found near the border with
Malaysia. According to the prosecution, refugees, most of
whom were Rohingy, had been held hostage and pressed for
ransom in the camps. The longest sentence of 94 years in
prison received a Burmese who organized a camp in the
jungle. At least 17 other people were sentenced to more than
70 years in prison. According to a statement to the Reuters
news agency, the harsh punishment was for marking that human
trafficking is prohibited in Thailand.
In September, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
was sentenced in his absence to five years in prison for
neglect in connection with a government program for rice
subsidies during his time in power. According to critics,
the program cost the equivalent of several billion SEK in
losses. When the verdict fell, Shinawatra was on the run. In
connection with the verdict, Thailand's Prime Minister
Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that Shinawatra would be sought
through diplomatic contacts and through Interpol.
In October, Thailand's former king Bhumibol was buried,
who passed away last October. Since his death, about 12
million people have visited the Royal Palace in Bangkok to
honor him and say goodbye. During the five-day cremation
ceremony, around 250,000 visitors were expected. Bhumibol
Adulyadej was Thailand's king for 70 years.