Sondhi assassination saga continues

26 07 2009

Update: The Bangkok Post (27 July 2009: “PM: Sondhi case nearing its end”) reports that three more arrest warrants are being sought, “The suspects were said to be a police sub-lieutenant and two sergeant-majors attached to the Special Warfare Centre.” Still no big shots.

PPT noted almost two weeks ago that two low-level suspects had been named in the investigations into the attempted assassination of PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul. So far, those suspects have remained at large.

Since then, there has been all kinds of speculation about the real forces behind the assassination plot and maneuverings over how to deal with the potential  political outcomes of naming the big shots involved. The speculation has involved, senior military and police officers, a former army commander under Thaksin Shinawatra, and palace-linked notables or royalists who considered Sondhi a threat.

A week ago, the former army chief under Thaksin, General Chettha Thanajaro, “denied any involvement in the attempt on the life of … Sondhi …, but admitted knowing one of the two suspects in the case” (Bangkok Post, 18 July 2009: “Chettha denies involvement”).

The suspect, Sgt-Maj Panya Srihera from the Lopburi-based special forces, was once assigned as an aide to Chettha when he was defence minister and the suspect had apparently fled “to Trat province, where his [Chettha’s] daughter-in-law Orathai Thanajaro has a factory.” The general added that “he and Mr Sondhi enjoyed good personal relations.”

Even with all of this in the public domain and many more rumours, the case has stalled. This led to speculation that Police Chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan was blocking the investigators and rumours that he would be moved or sacked. The Nation (25 July 2009: “Police chief asks for 30 days’ leave amid rumours of his removal”) reported that the chief was to take leave.

Meanwhile, the case is a political hot potato that has now landed with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The Bangkok Post (25 July 2009: “PM set to mediate in police squabble”) reports that the usually tough Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has passed the decision-making to the prime minister.

Abhisit said “any decision made must ensure the investigation into Mr Sondhi’s case can proceed” adding that, ”We will listen to everyone. We cannot make a decision based on a single person…. I will have to talk to Mr Suthep about the reports to be sure they are accurate. I will make my own judgement. I will use Mr Suthep’s information to make a decision…”.

The same report claimed that a “source in the army said some government agencies were wire-tapping the phones of Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda in relation to the Sondhi shooting probe.” Several other “military officers suspected of being involved in the assassination attempt were also being tapped…”.

PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila called on Abhisitto remove Police General Patcharawat for his “failure to act was delaying the investigation…”.

PPT has no additional information on this saga but again we can observe that the justice system is politicized and corrupted.

Chettha denies involvement


Actions

Information

4 responses

2 08 2009
New: Baffling in Bangkok « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] blame a range of people, from the military top brass to police and people close to the palace (see here and here and […]

21 08 2009
Updated: Chuan says Abhisit is humiliated « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] political trouble. Abhisit says: “I can find the way out.” Maybe, but he will need the support of PAD who were one of the driving forces behind Abhisit’s earlier decision-making on this police […]

8 11 2018
All used up | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] bid or a brutal warning to know his place. No one was ever charged, but it is interesting that the media at the time suggested that both Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda were considered […]

8 11 2018
All used up | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] bid or a brutal warning to know his place. No one was ever charged, but it is interesting that the media at the time suggested that both Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda were considered […]




%d bloggers like this: