AAP reports that 55-year old Thai-born U.S. citizen Joe Wichai Commart Gordon has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison by a court in Thailand. His verdict resulted from a crackdown on the country's lese majeste (a.k.a. royal insult) laws protecting the royal family.
Gordon was arrested in May while visiting Thailand, according to AFP. During his stay he was accused of translating, then publishing online a banned biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej into Thai while living in Colorado. He has lived in the U.S. for 30 years working as a car salesman.
Ever since 2007 Thailand has broadened its lese majeste legislation to anyone who is found guilty of insulting the king, queen, heir or regent with their Computer Crimes Act. Those who are accused may face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. There have been crimes against other royal families a lot more severe:
Texts Against Thai Monarchy
In November a Thai man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sending texts that insulted the Thai monarchy reports AFP. Ampon Tangnoppakul, 61, sent text messages to the private secretary of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in May 2010. He was then arrested in August 2010. In Thailand the royal family is revered by many, especially the 83-year old King who is the world's longest-reigning monarch.
Malaysian Princess Kidnapping and Murder
A former model and second wife to Prince Raja Jaafar Raha Muda Musa of Malaysia, Hazliza Ishak or Princess Leza, was murdered in 2002 states BBC News. Her body was found beneath a bridge in Kuala Lumpur. Ishak's hands and feet were found tied together when the Princess had been kidnapped. Arrests were made of seven men and one woman. Police also questioned the royal family.
Princess Anne's 1974 Kidnap Attempt
Princess Anne and husband Captain Mark Phillips were in their chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce en route to Buckingham Palace when another car blocked them on the Pall Mall. A man got out, fired six shots resulting in four people getting hit. The BBC reports the Princess' private detective, chauffer, a police officer and a bystander were amongst the injured. Her private detective was able to fire at the assailant, Ian Ball.
It was later discovered Ball was trying to kidnap Princess Anne. His demand letter to her mother, Queen Elizabeth, was for a 3 million pound ransom. Ball was sentenced to life imprisonment in a mental hospital. Princess Anne is the only member of the British Royal Family to be nearly abducted.
Intruder in Queen Elizabeth's Bedroom
One of the most freakish attempts towards any royalty occurred in 1982. Michael Fagan scaled the palace walls, evaded alarms and palace guards when he got inside the Queen's private apartment bedroom at Buckingham Palace. They spoke for 10 minutes until he asked for a cigarette. The Queen was able to sound an alarm. Fagan was held until the police arrived.
- Princess Anne