CHANTHABURI — A man was splashed with a soft drink for refusing to stand up in the theater for the Royal Anthem, according to a video that went viral Tuesday.
The video shows a man admitting to the assault at Major Cineplex Chanthaburi at Big C Chanthaburi on Monday. Although the original clip was deleted after criticism from netizens, copies of it soon appeared on the internet.
“Why didn’t you stand up? You have legs to stand up, don’t you?” the older man who splashed the drink on the younger man said. “What right do you have to film me?”
Capt. Pichit Saikrasoon of Chanthaburi Police said that no one has filed a police complaint over the past two days.
“Yesterday a Channel 7 reporter and I went through two day’s worth of reports. No one came to report it,” Pichit said. “Maybe they just wanted to film and post it, but didn’t want to come to the police.”
Reports of physical attacks against cinema-goers who sit through the Royal Anthem have been on the rise – a trend that coincides with the growing movement that calls for reforms of the monarchy.
In September, a couple was reportedly splashed with water for sitting through the anthem before a screening of “Mulan.” In the same week, a hardline royalist filmed himself demanding theater staff to take action against people who refuse to stand up.
Contrary to popular belief, refusal to stand for the Royal Anthem is no longer a punishable charge under any law – the offense was repealed in 2010, though some bystanders may still file complaints of royal defamation against the individuals.
In 1978, the Supreme Court sentenced a man to two years in prison under the royal insult charge for shouting “What the hell is this song?” when the anthem was played at an anti-Communist rally.
But the court in 2008 acquitted another man accused of not standing up for the anthem, citing his mental condition. A pro-democracy activist was also charged with lese majeste in 2007 for sitting through the Royal Anthem, but the prosecutors eventually dropped the charge.