Thai man sentenced to 2 years prison for selling cartoon duck calendars

Thai man sentenced to 2 years prison for selling cartoon duck calendars
Jack Taylor/AFP via Getty Images
Ines Shin
By Ines Shin
March 7, 2023
On Tuesday, the Taling Chan Criminal Court sentenced a man to two years in jail for the distribution of calendars containing cartoon ducks that allegedly mock Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as Rama X. 
The 26-year-old, whom the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) identified as “Ton Mai,” sold the “Yellow Duck Calendar 2021” through a Facebook page that shared the same name as Thai anti-establishment group Ratsadorn.
While the ducks themselves did not look like the monarch, accompanying phrases and the ducks’ attire could be interpreted as satirizing the king and his family members, a prosecutor reported. 
In one image, a duck can be seen wearing a sash with medallions along with the text “No.10,” allegedly to represent Rama X. In another, a duck was pictured wearing a black crop top that was similar to one worn by the king in a tabloid photo. In total, the court ruled that six of the calendar’s photos were made to imitate the king. 
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Ton Mai was charged under Thailand’s lese-majeste law, which punishes those convicted of insulting or threatening monarchy members with three to 15 years in prison.
Though he was initially sentenced to three years in jail, the court later reduced it to two years without parole for his cooperation with the court’s orders. 
TLHR reported that 233 people have been prosecuted for royal defamation under lese-majeste laws since November 2020.
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