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Bid to ease Thai share volatility

By Rachel Harvey
BBC News, Bangkok

An finance company worker in Bangkok reacts to a drop in Thai stocks - 15 October 2009
There was a sharp drop in stock prices last month

The Thai finance minister has been meeting regulators and officials from the stock exchange to look at ways of managing volatility in the markets.

It comes after the arrest of two people for allegedly spreading rumours about the health of the king, which caused a sharp drop in stock prices last month.

The two have been charged under the computer offences act and if convicted could face up to five years in prison.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 81, has been in hospital since mid-September.

The Royal Household has said the health of the king is improving.

'Translated story'

The two suspects have been officially charged with feeding untrue information through a computer system and undermining the security of the nation.

Specifically, they are each accused of posting information on news websites.

One of them, a former share trader, told reporters she had translated a story from a financial news service.

Commentators online are asking whether that might mean other news organisations, which reported similar information, might now be under scrutiny.

Thai police say they are continuing their investigations and have not ruled out the possibility of further arrests.

Critics of the current government say national security laws are being used to stifle free speech.



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