Chaturon faces cybercrime charge

Chaturon Chaisaeng has faced another charge of breaking the 2007 computer crime law, bringing the total jail term he might face to 15 years from nine.

However, the former education minister did not sign to acknowledge the new charge, saying he had only learned about it 30 minutes before entering the court room on Friday.

Earlier, Mr Chaturon faced two charges.

He was accused of disobeying the order of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) after he had failed to report himself, an offence punishable with a two-year jail term or a 40,000-baht fine.

Second, he was charged with breaking Section 116 of the Penal Code on instigation when he addressed journalists at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand on May 27. The offence carries a seven-year jail term.

At the Bangkok military court on Friday, police sought to detain him for the third round of 12 days to July 2, citing three reasons: the need to check his criminal records, the testimony of three more witnesses and a new charge against him.

Mr Chaturon argued as a minister, who by law must not have a criminal record, there was no need to check his background in this respect.

The need for more time to hear witnesses was also the same issue he had objected earlier.

As for the third claim, Mr Chaturon said he just learned about the new charge today and suspected it could have been added at the last minute in an effort to detain him in jail.

The court approved the police's request but since Mr Chaturon is already on bail, he would not be detained.

Mr Chaturon said later the new charge against him was added after an officer accused him of violating Section 14(3) of the computer crime law by "importing to a computer system of any computer data related with an offence against the kingdom's security under the Criminal Code" when he addressed the FCCT.

The offence carries a five-year jail term or a fine of 100,000 baht.

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