April 16, 2024

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Thai army is boycotting e-commerce giant Lazada because of a video

Thailand’s army has imposed a boycott on online retailer Lazada, which the government is investigating for allegedly disrespecting the country’s royal family in an advertisement.

The action will prevent 245,000 Thai military personnel from accessing Amazon’s websites for official purposes.

Defaming, insulting, or threatening senior members of the royal family are illegal in Thailand.

Singapore-based Lazada is one of the largest online merchants in Southeast Asia.

After citizens loyal to the king protested over a TikTok video promoting a Lazada sale on May 5, the announcement was made.

The advertisement, which featured a woman in a wheelchair, was criticised by royalists as mocking Princess Chulabhorn, King Vajiralongkorn’s younger sister, who uses a wheelchair due to Lupus, an autoimmune condition.

In a statement, Thai army spokesperson Colonel Sirichan Ngathong said the film was “offensive to the king” and “created divisiveness in Thai society.”

“All army units and army-related operations are now barred from ordering or delivering things through the Lazada platform,” she added.

Thailand’s digital economy minister, Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, informed reporters that the government was considering legal action against the influencer and the video’s advertising firm, as well as Lazada.

Courts in Thailand can sentence anybody to up to 15 years in prison for defaming, insulting, or threatening King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the queen, their heirs, or regents.

Lazada, Alibaba’s South-East Asian subsidiary, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The corporation has already apologised for the video’s “emotional damage” and claimed it should have been more cautious.

According to the Reuters news agency, at least a half-dozen Thai businesses, including those operated by the palace, have stopped using Lazada as a result of the video.