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Netizens on Monday were calling for a boycott of popular budget restaurant chains MK and Yayoi over apparent links with conservative channel Top News.
The uproar came after Thai police dispersed a pro-democracy protest at Sanam Luang plaza Saturday night, as protesters were demanding changes to the constitution and the release of detained dissidents. At least 32 people were arrested.
The hashtag #แบนmkและยาโยอิ (#BanMKandYayoi) was trending on Thai Twitter with more than 100,000 tweets. Twitter user @eezzqivy called for a boycott of the chains, sharing a shot of Top News anchor Sathaporn Kuasakul receiving a mealbox from MK in February.
Sathaporn commented on his post that he received the food every day. “Some days it is Yayoi, some days it is MK,” he said.
Move Forward Party MP, Amarat Chokepamitkul, a former frequent customer told Thai Enquirer that she decided to stop ordering from the restaurant chains after finding out that they supported Top News channel, which she said were biased.
“One of owners is Sontiyan (Chuenruetainaidhama) and one of the presenters is Kanok (Ratwongsakul) and as you can see on social media, MK is clearly supporting Top News,” she said.
Sontiyan is a founder of conservative outlets Top News and INN News, which acquired the Nation Multimedia Group in 2018.
A twitter account @NoSalimList, which collects a list of businesses that allegedly support the pro-government movement, also called for a ban on restaurants in the MK Group, including the Japanese brand Yayoi.
The #แบนmkและยาโยอิ should be the easiest businesses to boycott, said @TonsTweetings, adding that there are lots of competitors and “the food is not delicious in the first place”, especially Yayoi, which tastes like a fake Japanese restaurant to him.
As of mid-day break, shares of MK Restaurant Group fell slightly 0.44 per cent to 57 baht per share, with a transaction value of 55 million baht.