Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp, the wife of journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, has been detained by over 20 police in Thailand while visiting Bangkok with their three-year-old son.
Andrew, the author of A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand’s Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century, is banned from Thailand for his vocal criticism of Thai political affairs and the monarchy, and has a large online following of activists and supporters. His book is also banned.
The detention comes shortly after Andrew shared photos of Thailand’s Crown Prince on social media. The photos, published by Germany’s Bild, showed the heir apparent in a singlet top and covered in tattoos. Thai authorities have since claimed the photos are doctored.
Since the May 2014 coup, Thailand’s ruling military junta has increasingly enforced the country’s wide-ranging and harsh lese majeste laws — which punish any statements or actions deemed as insulting or threatening to the King or royal family.
Thai police have also told media that Andrew’s wife Ploy may be involved in any alleged wrongdoing because “she is the wife.”
Thai police told press: Andrew M Marshall’s wife may be involved in (alleged) wrongdoing “because she is the wife”. https://t.co/zsHGjbfpc9
— Kaewmala (@Thai_Talk) July 22, 2016
In a statement released on social media, Andrew wrote: “My wife Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp, 39, has worked as a journalist for Reuters and NBC.
“She is currently not working, and was visiting Bangkok with our son Charlie, who is three. Ploy has never been involved in my journalism, I have always ensured that I work completely independently of her, both because of the risks and because she has her own views on Thai politics and does not share mine.
“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 channels. It is unacceptable to harass an innocent woman simply because she is married to me.”
Currently, Ploy’s family house is being raided by police, who are collecting evidence on the issue, including electronic devices and passports. Meanwhile, Ploy Bunluesilp and her father are being questioned by police at the Crime Suppression Division HQ in Bangkok.
New Mandala condemns such an abhorrent act of persecution against an innocent party.
Update 4:56pm: According to latest reports, Ploy is being denied access to a lawyer.
Update 6:29pm: Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp has been released by Thai police after questioning.
Said Andrew McGregor Marshall, “This is very encouraging news but I remain very concerned that she has faced this ordeal.”
“She is innocent and plays no part in my journalism.”
UPDATE — My wife Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp has been released by Thai police after questioning. pic.twitter.com/Tzy44evdNr
— Andrew MacG Marshall (@zenjournalist) July 22, 2016