BANGKOK, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has granted a royal pardon to tens of thousands of prisoners throughout the country.
On occasion of the new Thai monarch's ascension to the throne, the royal pardon has been granted under a royal decree, issued on Saturday, to the extent that some 30,000 prisoners nationwide are being freed, said Corrections Department Director General Kobkiat Kasiwiwat on Monday.
Most of those being set free under the royal pardon have been serving sentences of less than two years, he said.
Many others are not being freed but are having their time in jail reduced by half or less, depending on the classes in which they may have been categorized, according to the chief of the Department of Corrections. Excellent-class inmates are having their prison time cut by half while very good and good inmates are having their time cut by one-third and one-fourth respectively.
Given the royal pardon, inmates who are serving time for lese majeste charges will have it cut by half or one-third or one-fourth, depending on their classes.
Nonetheless, former ICT minister Surapong Suebwonglee, who is serving a one-year term in jail on misconduct charges, and former media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul, who is serving a 20-year term on fraud charges, are not eligible to the royal pardon because they have been categorized as medium-class inmates.
The Rak Thailand Party leader/former MP Chuwit Kamolvisit, who is serving a two-year term on physical assault charges, is being freed.