Queen’s “lady-in-waiting” denies Sondhi assassination role

3 05 2009

The Bangkok Post’s front page (3 May 2009: “Thanpuying denies plotting to kill Sondhi”) has a story where Thanpuying Viriya Chavakul, the queen’s the lady-in-waiting denies being “the mastermind behind the attempted assassination of People’s Alliance for Democracy leader Sondhi Limthongkul.”

Such a denial raises many questions and is to be considered in the context of Sondhi’s recent claims about those who want him eliminated.

He believed the attack on him had been “a joint work of powerful people.”  Sondhi also claimed that the attack was “a clear threat to the Thai media as those behind the strike wanted to send the message to all the media to stop reporting accurate news.” Given the proclivities of his own media, this seems an odd claim, but Sondhi believes that he is a “journalist” whose “clear objectives [are] to report what is really happening in the country.”

Forgetting all of the history of previous murders of journalists and intimidation of the press, Sondhi boldly claims that: “This is the first time in the Thai history that the media was threatened in the brutal way” (Nation, 2 May 2009: “Strike is a sign anyone can be killed including PM : Sondhi”).

In an interview in The Nation (2 May 2009: “Interview with Sondhi Limthongkul”), Sondhi claims that the ousting of Thaksin Shinawatra has seen the rapid return of “old style politics.” He adds: “It became clear when the military coerced the switch of the coalition alliance to the Democrat Party. I am convinced this is proof of the [continued existence] of the old political cliques and the military desiring to retain their political domination.”

He sees the potential for the rise of the “old-style” Ruam Jai Thai Party to be headed by current Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan. Following a house dissolution, Prawit will be leader of this military-backed party, will secure an election victory through the patronage system, vote-buying and the support of the Ministry of Interior and police. Prawit would be replaced by current army commander General Anupong Paochinda.

Sondhi sees himself as the main obstacle to this plan and hence the plot to assassinate him.

He adds that: “Certain soldiers are paying lip service to the monarchy although they are not really loyal. I suspect they just care for themselves. They want prestige, aim to increase the budget for arms procurement and ensure their survival.”

And, never avoiding controversy, Sondhi observes a kind of kinship with the red shirts: “As a matter of fact, I am not much different from the red shirts. If the soldiers stage a coup to grab power, I will fight. If the coup is for a complete change, then I differ from the red shirts. I still see the need to uphold the monarchy. But the red shirts are not so clear on this issue. My key difference from the red shirts is that I uphold the three pillars – Nation, Religion and Monarchy. The red shirts and I share the same goal for social revolution.”

Updates: For a background onViriya Chavakul, see Bangkok Pundit. For more on Sondhi’s press conference, see here.

It is now reported that, according to Thanpuying Charungjit Teekara, deputy private secretary to Her Majesty, that Thanpuying Viriya is not a lady-in-waiting. According to the first Lady, such a position requires appointment by His Majesty the King and the appointment must be announced in the Royal Gazette. Thanpuying Viriya was also said to hold no position in the Bureau of the Royal Household. Seems like the palace is embarrassed.


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25 05 2009
Sanitary PAD « Leosia

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