Thailand to try Swiss man for insulting king

Bangkok - A Swiss man will go on trial in Thailand next month facing 75 years in jail for defacing images of King Bhumibol Adulyadej during a drunken spree on the revered monarch's birthday, officials said on Wednesday.

The trial of Oliver Rudolf Jufer, 57, charged with five separate acts of lese majeste, would start on March 12 in the northern city of Chiang Mai where he lived, they said.

Police would seek consecutive jail terms for Jufer on each count carrying jail terms of between three and 15 years after he daubed the portraits of the king, whom many Thais regards as semi-divine, with black paint.

"This is a delicate issue and we don't want the public to know much about it," Chiang Mai chief prosecutor Manoon Moongpanchon said declining to give more details.

Jufer has been in jail since he was arrested in December.

Only one Thai newspaper reported the episode after police asked local journalists not to write about it to minimise the disrespect to King Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch.

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