Not Funny: Authorities eye harsher penalties for prank shooting threats

A teen from Roi Et province threatened to commit a mass shooting there in an apparent online prank, at left, and Digital Economy and Society Minister Puttipong Punnakanta, at right. Photos: Digital Economy and Society Ministry
A teen from Roi Et province threatened to commit a mass shooting there in an apparent online prank, at left, and Digital Economy and Society Minister Puttipong Punnakanta, at right. Photos: Digital Economy and Society Ministry

Harsher penalties will be imposed on pranksters who spread panic by making threats online following Saturday’s mass shooting that killed at least 29 in Korat. 

After a spate of online posts threatening violence similar to that which unfolded overnight Saturday at the Terminal 21 Korat shopping mall, Digital Economy and Society Minister Puttipong Punnakanta said yesterday that take stronger action against any fake threats. 

Hostages at mall among 30 dead as Korat reels from trauma

Puttipong said he ordered his team to revisit the Computer Crime Act and other laws related to misinformation to determine whether they should be amended for harsher punishments.

The minister spoke out after at least five people were arrested on suspicion of making false threats online threatened to commit mass shootings similar to that carried out by army officer Jakrapanth Thomma.

Among them was a 16-year-old teen in Roi Et province who posted photos of himself dressed in a military-looking outfit holding a pistol. His post read, “It happened in Korat. The next one will be in Roi Et. A cornered dog like me will do it at Big C Roi Et.”

Another was a monk in Khon Kaen who made a hoax call to police and reported a bomb at a hotel in the province’s urban center. Police rushed to the hotel and found nothing. The monk was charged with giving false information to authorities that could cause panic in the public.

The Computer Crime Act, rewritten in 2017, is nominally a tool against cybercriminals but is routinely used to stifle dissent, criticism and information the government deems incorrect.

Related:

Hostages at mall among 30 dead as Korat reels from trauma

Thai soldier whose rampage killed at least 20 in Korat killed inside mall

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