Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit during an interview in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) - Thailand's police on September 17 charged the founder and two members of a new political party with violating a computer crime law, an offence that could result in a five-year jail sentence, a fine of 100,000 baht (over 3,000 USD) or both.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 39, founder of the Future Forward Party, and two senior party members were charged under the Computer Crimes Act, after reporting to a Bangkok police station, where they were questioned and fingerprinted.

They are accused of giving false information in a June 29 speech by Thanathorn that was posted on Facebook.

However, Thanathorn, a billionaire and newcomer to the political scene, said he and his colleagues rejected the charges.

The police said they would forward the case to the attorney general within four months.

Thailand’s ruling junta on September 14 partially eased its ban on political activities, paving the way for the general election scheduled to take place on February 24, 2019.

Under the decision, which was announced by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, political parties are now permitted to elect their leaders, recruit new members and hold general party meetings if they are able to summon at least 250 members. But, election campaigning, including holding public gatherings, is still forbidden.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who is in charge of the government’s legal affairs, said election campaigning would be allowed after a law on the election is issued, possibly in December.

After the military staged a coup in 2014 to oust then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a ban was imposed throughout the country on all political activities. This included a ban on any public gatherings of more than five people.-VNA