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The Criminal Court on Thursday rejected a request to shut down the Bluedragon website, saying it simply acted as an online platform and was not responsible for overpriced lottery tickets sold there.
The court read its verdict at 10am in the case filed by the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry, which wanted Bluedragon and four other websites shut down on charges of publishing content in violation of the country’s peace and order laws and content that persuaded others to gamble.
The ruling stated that the Bluedragon website simply gathered lottery tickets for selling online and it was the sellers and buyers who set the retail prices on their own.
The court said Bluedragon did not take part in deciding the lottery prices so there was no ground to convict it over charges that it violated the Government Lottery Act.
The DES Ministry also charged Bluedragon with distorting government lotteries by concealing the individual barcode of each ticket with its logo when publishing the tickets on the online platform.
The court ruled that although the tickets’ barcodes were reportedly hidden, Bluedragon witnesses argued that the distortion was not intended to reap benefit but to prevent lottery tickets from being resold.
The court said it believed the arguments that the company did not violate the Government Lottery Act or the gambling act. The court also ruled that Bluedragon did not violate the Computer Crime Act.
As a result, the court concluded, it had no power to order a shutdown of Bluedragon’s main website or two subsidiary websites.
The court, however, ordered a shutdown of two other websites which do not belong to Bluedragon as they failed to send representatives to defend themselves.
Bluedragon owner Pachara Messiyaporn and his lawyer Anantachai Chaiyadej were present in court for the verdict.
Speaking to reporters as he exited the court, Anantachai said Bluedragon has regained its pride through the court’s ruling.
“It is clear that the court ruled that Bluedragon is not the direct seller [of lotteries] and was not the one which set the prices,” Anantachai said.
“Bluedragon is only a market [platform] that is paid for the service. We received only THB4-5 per ticket sold.”
Pachara said he is still deciding whether or not to resume lottery ticket trading on his platform.
He said suspension of the service has so far cost him more than THB10 million in terms of revenue.
The ruling is expected to be used to defend Pachara in criminal charges being brought by the police.
“The court clearly ruled that Bluedragon did not sell overpriced lotteries as charged by a senior police officer,” the lawyer added.
Pachara was arrested at a luxury estate in Nonthaburi in early April before being released on bail. He faces four charges – uploading fake data into a computer system, operating a direct marketing platform without registration, releasing fake or exaggerated advertisements, and overpricing lottery tickets.
Police have not yet wrapped up their investigations.
Published : May 12, 2022
By : THE NATION