Thai police briefly detain British journalist’s wife over royal photos

Thai police briefly detain British journalist’s wife over royal photos

Thai police briefly detain British journalist’s wife over royal photos

Police Lt. Gen. Thitiraj Nhongharnpitak, second right, watches Noppawan "Ploy" Bunluesilp, center, wife of British journalist Andrew McGregor Marshall, address the media as she prepares to leave a Bangkok police station, Friday, July 22, 2016. AP photo

Police raided the home of a British journalist’s wife on July 22 and took her away for questioning in connection with his social media post containing embarrassing photographs purported to be of Thailand’s crown prince. 

Police later said the photos were doctored and kept the wife, who is Thai, briefly in custody, the Associated Press reported.

Andrew McGregor Marshall said in a statement that his wife, Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp, was visiting Bangkok with their 3-year-old son when both of them were taken by police to a police station along with his father-in-law. Armed with a search warrant, police also took computers and several items from the house.

On July 22 Marshall’s wife, 39-year-old Bunluesilp, was taken into police custody in Bangkok and released after several hours of questioning over her husband’s social media posts from the day before.
“She was released,” Thitirat Nongharnpitak, commander of Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), told AFP after the interrogation, adding that officers did not find any grounds to charge her with a crime.

Marshall tweeted photos July 21 that were published in the German tabloid newspaper Bild and were purportedly of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn at an airport in Germany. The crown prince spends much of his time in Germany.

Marshall, who used to be based in Bangkok, is a frequent critic of the Thai monarchy and the military government.

Under Thailand’s strict “lese majeste” laws, criticism of the monarchy is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Marshall and his wife have not lived in Thailand since 2011, but he continues to write about the country and is banned from entering it.

In the statement issued from Hong Kong, where he currently is, Marshall said Noppawan, who used to work for Reuters and NBC, is currently not working.

“Ploy has never been involved in my journalism ... There is no reason for police to detain her. If Thai police believe that I have broken Thai law they should seek my extradition to Thailand via legitimate international legal challenges.

It is unacceptable to harass an innocent woman simply because she is married to me,” said Marshall, who also used to work for Reuters.