Army Sues Social Media Users Over Vaccine Tourism Claims

Thai Soldiers At Airport
Thai soldiers check in at Suvarnabhumi airport as they before leaving for a training session in the United States.

The army has filed a defamation complaint against nine social media users for alleging some soldiers left for the United States to get the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer.

Army chief Gen Narongpan Jittkaewtae had Col Nakhonsom Naowabut from the army’s office of the judge advocate file the complaint with the Nang Loeng police station on Wednesday.

A source said the complaint targeted eight Facebook users and one Twitter user, and more similar complaints would follow against other people. Defamation carries a fine of up to 200,000 baht and/or two years in jail.

The legal action concerned 114 Thai soldiers who left for a strategic airborne operation exercise at Fort Bragg in North Carolina from 10th-26th July.

Accusers claimed that the soldiers spent taxpayers’ money on the trip to receive the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 in the United States.

Earlier, deputy army spokesperson Col Sirichan Ngathong said the accusation was baseless and the soldiers had received AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines, tested negative for COVID-19 and been quarantined.

She also said that the US paid for the training of the Thai soldiers.