- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2007

BANGKOK (AP) — Two more videos mocking Thailand’s revered king have appeared on YouTube, leading to a pledge from the government yesterday to keep its block on the popular video-sharing Web site.

“The Web site will remain blocked until all the video clips are removed,” said Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom, the minister of information and technology.

Those who posted the videos “want to create trouble. They have bad intentions for Thailand,” said Mr. Sitthichai, who was appointed as part of a military-installed government after a September coup.

Thailand blocked YouTube on Wednesday after the Google Inc.-owned site refused to remove a video that featured a slide show of King Bhumibol Adulyadej juxtaposed with imagery deemed to be offensive by Thailand.

Insulting the monarchy in Thailand is a criminal offense known as “lese majeste.” Last week, a Swiss man was imprisoned for 10 years for vandalizing portraits of the king.

The initial video, which YouTube said was withdrawn Thursday by the user who had submitted it, showed pictures of feet over the king’s head — a major cultural taboo in Thailand, where feet are considered dirty and offensive. The clip also included graffiti scrawled over the 79-year-old monarch’s face.

At least one still frame from the video remained on the site.

A variation of the withdrawn video reappeared yesterday with one that showed a picture of the king with a monkey’s face.

It also carried messages with profanities and said that Thailand’s “leaders are evil and hate free speech.”

Mr. Sitthichai said the government was “in talks with Google to deal with the case.”

Before the appearance of the two new videos, YouTube said it was disappointed that the site had been blocked in Thailand. But so far YouTube hasn’t removed such videos, just as it has kept clips that mock President Bush and other public figures.

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