Updated: Plane talk

16 07 2011

The saga of Prince Vajiralongkorn’s plane continues. By the way, the prince is back in Thailand and was on the televised royal news Friday evening.

In the Bangkok Post it is reported that “German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Friday that the German government could offer no comment on the affair ‘because we respect the independence of the judicial authorities’ who are now responsible for the case.” Meanwhile, the German Foreign Ministry had expressed “regret to the Crown Prince over the matter…” and the “inconvenience” caused.

That same report has caretaker “Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Friday said the government expected the court would rule in favour of Thailand as the aircraft seizure occurred out of a mistaken belief that the plane belonged to the Thai government.” In other words, Abhisit is taking the same line as caretaker Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya: the plane is the prince’s personal property.

PPT wonders if the Thai government can prove the ownership is really personal. For example, it should be easy enough for the government to show that the prince pays all the bills – landing fees, parking fees, other airport charges, fuel bills, registration fees, and the cost of staff like attendants and pilots (there has to be more than one).

Kasit, is his usual belligerent and threatening way, manages to get things wrong: “Kasit, speaking in Bangkok said Thailand wanted ‘the German court to act on our request revoke the seizure immediately.’ … ‘If this takes too long it might affect the feelings of Thai people towards German people and the country because this is related to the monarchy’.” Threatening demonstrations outside the German Embassy in Bangkok perhaps?

At least Abhisit appeared to understand that this is “a case filed by a private business and the [German] administration has no power to intervene.”

Update: Here’s an edited Google Translate version of a Spiegel Online report:

Crown Prince of Thailand’s Jet Remains Grounded

The plane of the Thai Crown Prince distrained for now remains on the ground. Despite all the efforts of Thailand to continue sticking it to the bailiff of Kuckuck. Thailand’s foreign minister traveled to Berlin, but the Foreign Office could not achieve anything.

Munich / Bangkok – The Thai Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn is angry: He wants his plane returned. The bailiff has seized a German, because Thailand is liable to the insolvent Walter Bau Group money. And it does not look as if his Vajiralongkorn will get back his Boeing soon. An urgent application by his lawyers to release the plane failed on Friday – the district court of Landshut took no decision. The aircraft is thus sealed at the Munich airport.

Even Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, who traveled to Berlin, achieved nothing at a meeting at the Foreign Ministry with Minister of State Cornelia Pieper. Pieper expressed regret on behalf of the Federal Government for “inconvenience” for the Crown Prince. At the same time she made it clear that the government cannot help.

“The case is now in the hands of the independent German judiciary,” said Pieper. They also hope for speedy solutions. The federal government had repeatedly asked Thailand to settle the outstanding claim. Neither country was willing to let the process be a burden on their relationship.

Before his departure for Berlin, Piromya, in a report in the “Bangkok Post” warned of a burden on the German-Thai relations, if there is not a satisfactory result. He spoke of a “huge mistake” by the German authorities….

Has nothing to do with the Crown Prince”

In an interview with ZDF, Foreign Minister Piromya said the aircraft belonged to the Crown Prince in person and not the state. “The event takes place between the Thai government and the company Walter Bau. It has nothing to do with his Majesty the Crown Prince of Thailand.”

The Vice President of the Landshut district court, Christoph Fellner, explained that the Court is still not sufficiently convinced that the aircraft is actually owned by the Crown Prince. [PPT has suggestions above on how to prove this!] Therefore, he cannot decide on the application to repeal of the seizure. [PPT: the next sentence is a bit garbles in tranlation] “With a proper decision requesting the lien probably would object away, that it would be the main thing done effectively,” it said in the statement Fellner.

“We view this decision as a success because the attempts by the other party to explain the different ownership structures have not borne fruit,” said Schneider, for the liquidator. It remains the unchanged target that the Thai government meets its specified international arbitration payment obligations.

The representatives of the Thai government had refused to agree to a suggestion that the aircraft be released upon payment of a security deposit, said Schneider. “This attitude has surprised us, because we were ready for a quick agreement.” A new trial date was to take place next week.

 


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17 07 2011
More on the plane saga | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Skip to content HomeAbout usPending casesConvictionsCommentaryTake Action ← Updated: Plane talk July 17, 2011 · 12:23 […]

23 07 2011
Stranger and stranger on the plane | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Boeing 737 saga that began with the seizure of the aircraft several days ago (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here) and the Thai government’s sustained claim that the plane belongs to […]