The Thai military’s boycott of e-commerce platform Lazada is being criticised as a sign of regulatory overreach and for their ignorance of how e-commerce functions. That reaction followed an order issued on Monday by the army barring the delivery of goods from Lazada, and its personnel from shopping on the website, following the release of a promotional video seen as mocking the royals last week. “The marketing content was inappropriate, affected Thais emotionally and reduced the human values,” read the army statement. “No delivery from the company will be allowed in the army areas and all units will refrain from ordering goods from the company.” Thai army boycotts e-commerce firm Lazada after it enrages royalists The Thai air force and navy also issued similar statements barring its personnel from shopping on Lazada, the Southeast Asian e-commerce arm of Chinese tech giant the Alibaba Group, which also owns the Post . The boycott came after a video posted on TikTok last week featured three online influencers, one in a traditional Thai costume and sitting in a wheelchair. Many users on social media said it was a veiled reference to Princess Chulabhorn, the youngest daughter of late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn who in recent years has been confined to a wheelchair. Lazada is the first private business operating in Thailand that faces the ban from the Thai military that has established itself as the “the protector of the throne,” said Puangchon Unchanam, author of Royal Capitalism: Wealth, Class, and Monarchy in Thailand . “The military has to show its solidarity with the monarchy. Also, it has to make an example of this controversial case and show the public that anyone who dares to mock the monarchy will not be tolerated by the army,” he said. “The way the army tries to prohibit any commodity that is sold by Lazada to be delivered inside the barracks shows that the military leaders have no idea how the global market, multinational corporations, modern consumption, and e-commerce function today.” The Lazada controversy follows an April Fool’s Day prank ad by VietJet Air for its new route Nan-Munich, the hometown of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s consort Sineenat and the German city where the king has been reported to stay for months at times. 15 things you may not know about Asian Royalty The ad faced backlash from royalists, leading the company to remove the content and hold an internal investigation. However, the airlines’ prank did not receive the same level of condemnation because the Lazada ad was deemed insulting to Princess Chulabhorn. She is “a royal descendant of the Chakri dynasty” while the VietJet prank mocked Sineenat who “came from a commoner’s background, or as a royalist would say, she has no royal blood,” said Puangchon. Following the release of the video last week, three brands founded by the royal family that sell agricultural produce, processed agricultural goods and handicrafts also suspended their sales on Lazada. Last week, the hashtag #banlazada was trending on Thai Twitter as many vowed to stop using the platform in protest. On Friday, Lazada issued a letter apologising for “failing to conduct a thorough check before the release of the video”. “Lazada believes in sharing a respectful and non-divided society … we will make sure that no similar incident happens in the future,” said the statement. The Thai government spokesman said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was extremely concerned by the news and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society was working to see if any legal prosecutions can be made against the company or the online influencers who appeared in the video. Thai protesters take aim at King Vajiralongkorn’s royal purse Thailand has strict lese-majesty laws and courts can hand down jail terms of up to 15 years for defaming, insulting or threatening its royals. Activist Srisuwan Janya has sought legal action with the Technology Crime Suppression Division against influencer Aniwat Prathumthin, better known by her social media alias of Nara Crepe Katoey, on a charge of breaking Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese-majesty law, and the Computer Crime law. Nara Crepe Katoey is a social media influencer with 1.8 million followers on Facebook appeared in the video. She said she had no intention to bully “anyone or those with physical disabilities”. Nara was hired by Intersect Design Factory, a media agency outsourced by Lazada to film an ad to promote Lazada’s 5/5 shopping festival campaign. “While influencers bring benefits of broader outreach, the marketing company [Lazada in this case] may not always be able to exert control over all the contents created by outsourced influencers because they are not brand ambassadors selected by the company,” said Pavida Pananond Professor of International Business at Bangkok’s Thammasat Business School. The case drew attention instead to the topics of the monarchy and the role of the military in Thailand, Pavida added. “This incident reveals the extent of actions that the army is willing to undertake in the name of protecting the institution, from coups to bans on private businesses. “This may not bode well for the business environment in Thailand, in which uncertainty and volatility can arise out of a TikTok video and freedom of speech can be arbitrarily interpreted,” she said.