Most guide books advise tourists to Thailand to respect the Thai monarchy on their visits to Thailand. That advice is given for a reason. It isn’t just a case of being rude when anybody in Thailand insults the royal family, it is actually against the law to do so. That fact has been graphically illustrated today.
Swiss national, Oliver Rudolf Jufer, was today sentenced to 10 years in prison for defacing pictures of the King of Thailand. A long-time resident in Thailand, Jufer was facing a maximum jail term of 75 years, but his admission of guilt lessened his sentence.
This has been an exceptionally rare case and it is not yet clear whether Jufer will appeal. However, when the guilty man’s own (court appointed) lawyer describes the sentence as ‘appropriate for the crime he has committed’, then the prospects seem, at best, bleak.
No doubt, some diplomatic negotiations will go on behind the scenes involving the Swiss government and after a suitable amount of time in a Thai prison, Jufer will be deported. It just remains to be seen how long Jufer will serve in prison before the Thai authorities deport him without losing face.