Stranger and stranger on the plane

23 07 2011

The Bangkok Post has a strange yet revealing report that continues the seized 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 Prince Vajiralongkorn, because it was gifted to him.

In this report, Prince Vajiralongkorn is said to have “expressed concern over public feelings about his impounded aircraft and recommended that the government not pay a surety of 20 million euros (846 million baht) for its release.”

In essence, the publicity is bad for him, bad for the palace and is revealing of the complete opacity of palace money.

Attorney-General Chulasingh Vasantasingh is cited as saying that “His Royal Highness has been concerned about Thai people’s feelings which may be misled over the issue into thinking that he violated aviation rules…”.

This is a tad unclear, but probably refers to items that have popped up all over blogs and websites referring to earlier reports that the German government has had repeated problems with the prince flying this plane as if it was his toy and without due regard for air navigation regulations.

The report then gets stranger. Chulasingh states: “[I] would like the Thai people to understand the Crown Prince did not commit any violations…”. Well, not this time anyway. But then this: “and he isn’t involved in the legal fight between the government and German firm…”.

This is strange because if the aircraft did belong to the prince, it should be his lawyers in court claiming that he is an aggrieved party. If he isn’t part of the case regarding the plane, then, prima facie, the plane isn’t his.

Even stranger, Chulasingh claims the government is prepared to pay the surety required to release the plane, but the prince doesn’t want it to. Chulasingh then gets quite bizarre and incriminating of the government’s case on the plane by saying that “the Office of the Attorney-General would sue Walter Bau and its insolvency administrators for impounding the aircraft.”

Why would the government sue over private property? Clearly, this is not the prince’s personal property, He just uses it whenever he feels the need for some fun.

The report then makes the false claim that the “German court had already acknowledged that the jet belongs to the Crown Prince, based on official records and ownership papers.” Read our earlier post on what the court actually says.

Chulasingh then rants on about the plane having “the Crown Prince’s royal emblem and the initials HS-CMV and has no symbol of the Royal Thai Air Force. HS refers to a civil aircraft registered in Thailand with the Civil Aviation Department while CMV stands for Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.”

Of course, the livery of a plane has absolutely nothing to do with ownership. Think of all the leased commercial aircraft flying around the world…. Does Chulasingh claim to have legal qualifications? If he does, he might want to give them up. But PPT shouldn’t be too hard, as we realise that he is probably scared witless by having to deal with a dangerous fellow.

This case has turned out to be wonderful for revealing so much about the monarchy’s very special position in Thailand, where the law just seems not to apply. Wasn’t Abhisit Vejjajiva always on about rule of law? This double standard is all too clear.






One response

1 08 2011
Prince pays | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] wonders about the reason for deciding to pay now, after earlier saying that no bond should be paid. Is it just that the prince has bags of money laying about and he doesn’t like his other 737 […]

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