Thai society’s respect for its royal family is deep-rooted and codified into civil law. In place for over a century, the lèse majesté law is meant to protect Thai royals from insult or threat.
On Oct. 13, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, passed away at age 88. His death sparked a string of arrests and mob justice linked to violations of lèse majesté.
Rights groups argue crackdowns on anyone suspected of breaking the law apply a much broader interpretation that includes political dissent, not just direct insults about the most senior royals.
Country Coded is a video series that explores game-changing or controversial laws around the world. Check out the first episode on how women in Iran reacted to a sexist cycling ban.