Artid Sivahansaphan, a craft beer enthusiast from Thailand, has been fined THB 150,000 (USD 4,400) and given a suspended six-month prison sentence by posting a photo and reviewing a beer on Facebook. The initial penalty from 2020 of THB 200,000 and 8 months in prison was reduced because his testimony was considered helpful by the court.
By definition, Thailand’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Actof 2008 forbids “advertising or displaying, directly or indirectly, the name or trademark of any alcoholic beverage.”The maximum punishment is one year in prison and a fine of THB 500,000.
“I just posted a photo of beer,” he told Coconuts. “I made a page about craft beer, and posted a picture of this beer, and what it’s about, which is really normal. But in this country we have laws that prohibit us from talking about alcohol.”
Sivahansaphan said he will appeal his verdict and hopes to change legislation he says is unfair to consumers and small business owners. The military-backed government enforced these laws and staged the defeat of an opposition law decriminalizing brewing last year.
However, he is not the only person facing charges under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act. Last month, Thanakorn “Benz” Tuamsa-ngiam was charged with publishing 15 offensive posts between October 2020 and July 2021. He is said to have promoted alcohol in his community, Prachachon Beer (Beer People).
Since he has to pay THB 50,000 for each offending post, the fine could reach THB 750,000 (USD 22,000).