Airline’s April Fools Tweet An Illegal Affront to Thai King, Lawyer Claims

Vietjet April Fool's prank

Thai Vietjet tweeted an April Fool’s prank which unfortunately may lead to criminal charges in the Kingdom.

Reuters reports that the budget airline’s official account tweeted a notice that they would be launching a direct international flight between Munich, Germany, where the Thai King has a residence, and the Thai province of Nan, where the Royal Noble Consort, Sineenat Wongvajiraphakdi, was born.

The airline’s tweet mentioned neither the King nor the Royal Noble Consort, but the tweet was quickly interpreted as a slight against the two, especially because the King’s decision to spend time outside of the country has been a subject of protest.

Screenshot of the now-deleted Tweet provided by Khaosod.
Screenshot of the now-deleted Tweet provided by Khaosod.

The tweet was met with anger by Thai royalists online, leading airline CEO Woranate Laprabang to apologize and suspend the staff thought to be responsible for the tweet. 

The apology was not enough to put the incident to rest: lawyer/activist Srisuwan Janya—-who once told the Bangkok Post that he had filed 1,000 complaints with the police—filed a complaint about the tweet with the Thai police, appealing to Thailand’s lese majeste laws which outlaw mocking or criticizing royalty.

An online royalist group called “Thailand Help Center for Cyberbullying Victims” has reportedly said that Thai VietJet’s CEO has indicated that he will seek a royal pardon for the offending prank tweet.