Unresolved cases

9 09 2010

Back in June 2009, PPT posted regarding the case of Somchai Neelaphaijit, as one of the cases at the top of a list that Prime Minister Abhisit claimed he would resolve soon after he came to power with the support of the military. We said then that Abhisit seemed to have already forgotten this promise. Just a couple of weeks ago, we posted our most recent comment on Somchai’s case and its ramifications for the disappeared in Thailand’s politics. No progress has been made at all on Somchai’s case despite Abhisit’s promise.

One of the other cases that Abhisit said he would get resolved involved the long saga of the Saudi gems and murders case (for a quick recap, see here, here and here). That goes back two decades and has been a thorn in relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year there seemed to be some progress on the case when, just prior to the expiration of the period in which charges could be laid in the case of the murder of a Saudi businessman, five police officers were indited, including Lt Gen Somkid Boonthanom. Nothing seemed to happen after that. However, this case has reignited now that the recent police reshuffle saw the promotion of Somkid.

The details of this case, and Somkid’s relationships with the Democrat Party and his close relationship with the coup plotters in 2006, are the subject of a most useful post by Bangkok Pundit who includes this link to a statement from the Saudi Arabian embassy that is worth a read. The debts to supporters of the coup and of the rise of the Democrat Party are deep and resilient – see our post on the Jaruvan Maintaka case as another example.

There’s also the need to protect the elite and some at the higher reaches of the elite. We cite this from the Jotman website, referring to 1990: “Saudis became convinced that the Thai police were involved in a huge cover-up, that the jewels had been distributed among some influential people at the top of Thai society.” Then this: “At a gala dinner in Bangkok soon after the incident, wives of the Thai generals and leading politicians fiercely competed in showing off their jewelry. The Thai newspapers’ photographers caught pictures showing diamond necklaces belonging to the Saudi royal family. The pictures were shown to Saudi officials who also confirmed its similarity. The Thai ladies, however, denied their authenticity.” and finally this: “(Another?) sighting of the jewels is alleged to have occurred at a Red Cross event (date unspecified).”

The prime minister’s continual references to the rule of law and justice are shibboleths that are all too easily discarded when protecting the monarchy, political friends and relationships in the struggle to defeat Thaksin Shinawatra and the red shirts are considered.



2 responses

9 09 2010
Suspicious bombs « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Take Action Unresolved cases […]

6 01 2011
Saudi gems appear from nowhere | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] year on the resurgence of interest in the so-called Saudi gems and murders saga. Those posts are here, here and […]

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