Arrest over Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra's Twitter hack

Student Aekawit Thongdeeworakul during a news conference at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Bangkok on 5 Oct The arrested student remained silent during a news conference

The authorities in Thailand have arrested a university student who reportedly confessed to hacking into the Prime Minister's Twitter account.

Police say 22-year-old Aekawit Thongdeeworakul hacked into Yingluck Shinawatra's account to post tweets accusing her of incompetence and cronyism.

Mr Aekawit is accused of illegally accessing computer data.

He faces up to two years in prison if found guilty.

In one of the hacked Tweets, Ms Yingluck's government is accused of failure in its response to floods that have hit large parts of the country.

The final post read: "If she can't even protect her own Twitter account, how can she protect the country?"

'A big deal'

Mr Aekawit, an architecture student, sat next to Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap as he gave a news conference at his ministry in Bangkok.

"He told me his act was innocent as he didn't realise it would be a big deal," the minister said.

The student, wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap, remained silent.

Ms Yingluck - Thailand's first female prime minister - described the Twitter attack as a "violation of people's personal rights" and suspended her account - PouYingluck.

She won a clear victory in elections in July, but is accused by her critics of being a puppet of her brother, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Thaksin - whose populist policies won him the support of much of the rural and urban poor - was thrown out of office in a 2006 military coup.

Now living in exile in Dubai, he is still seen as the de facto leader of his sister's Pheu Thai party - although the party insists his role is purely advisory.

Ms Yingluck has no previous political experience but has won support with her pledge to heal the divisions that have plagued the country since her brother was ousted.

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