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International royals

Memorial for King Bhumibol’s dead dog

Earlier today the late King Bhumibol’s dog was remembered in a Buddhist ceremony for the first anniversary of her death. Tong Daeng was the favourite dog of King Bhumibol. The ceremony took place near a statue of the dog in Hua Hin, where the dog died in Klai Kangwon Palace.

Tong Daeng was a stray dog, which was picked up by the King himself from the streets in 1998. She was named Tong Daeng (copper) for the colour of her fur. The dog had an extraordinary life. King Bhumibol even wrote a book about her life and mentioned that she knew her place well – at the feet of the King. Tong Daeng is also featured in a animated film and has her very own postage stamps.

She made headlines just before her death because a Thai man was being accused of lèse-majesté in a military court for making sarcastic remarks about her. Civilians have been tried in military court since the military seized power.

“On Dec. 6, 2015, the suspect copied three images from Twitter and spread it on [his] personal Facebook,” read part of the prosecutor’s remark at the military court.“These are images which contain sarcastic contents about the royal dog…”

“Our view is that the [lèse-majesté] law doesn’t cover the royal dog… But in the end, the one who will interpret it is the military court,” said Poonsuk Poonsukcharoen, who was the suspect’s lawyer. The suspect also faced another charge of lèse-majesté for clicking “like” on a doctored image of King Bhumibol on Facebook and a charge of sedition for sharing an infographic detailing alleged corruption behind the construction of the scandal-plagued Rajabhakti Park. He was eventually fined 500,000 baht (£11,000) and sentenced to 86 days in prison.

Tong Duang was around 17-years-old when she died.