Thai junta quashes coup rumour after fake document circulated

Thai Prime Minister and junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters the widely circulated document announcing the dismissals of top army generals was not real.
Thai Prime Minister and junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters the widely circulated document announcing the dismissals of top army generals was not real.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (DPA) - The Thai ruling military government on Monday (Feb 11) quashed a widely spread rumour about a possible coup after a fake document was circulated on social media over the weekend.

Calling the coup rumour "fake news", Prime Minister and junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters the widely circulated document announcing the dismissals of top army generals was not real.

"The matter is being investigated and the perpetrator will be punished," Mr Prayut said.

The hashtag #ThaiCoup has become top trending on Thailand's Twitter since Sunday, after the fake document was posted.

But it was not the fake document alone that got social media users watchful. Another official document, a genuine one ordering riot police to guard landmarks of the central province of Phichit, was leaked online on Saturday. Police later said the deployment was merely routine.

The rumour was further fuelled as some social media users also posted photos of military tanks on the streets over the weekend. The authorities later clarified that artillery were transported for the upcoming Cobra Gold annual military exercise.

The rumour came after last Friday's two political bombshells - the registration of the first royal family member's prime ministerial nomination and the king's rejection of such a candidacy, putting Thailand in uncharted territory.

 

Thailand is currently under a military regime which came into power in a 2014 coup. The country has had 12 successful coups since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932. A coup within a coup is not unheard of.