Dirty business

6 01 2012

PPT felt that a recent article by Veera Prateepchaikul makes a point that needs highlighting. If we can interpret a little, the article is about how, when the Army has great power and independence, its power maintains its corruption.

When Veera states that as “the management of the Chatuchak weekend market moves from Bangkok City Hall to the State Railway of Thailand, organised criminal gangs are busy extorting money from vendors – who must pay if they want to continue doing business there,” he then makes an interesting claim:

Every square inch of Chatuchak weekend market and its surrounding footpaths is a gold mine as far as these extortionists, this Thai mafia, are concerned.

There are three criminal gangs operating there, two of them led by men in green uniforms. They have been running the market on the dark and behind the backs of city officials for decades.

This underground racket is said to generate more revenue for the mafia gangs than the 420 million baht in official rent….

Veera goes on to state that the “criminal underground … is run by men in uniform, either green [army] or brown [police]…”. He’s right, and it is a position that no post-2006 coup has been able to control. In fact, for most of the past 5-6 years, the military and police have been let off a loose leash that had been in place since about 1992.

Yes, we know that state officials have been able to operate with impunity for years. It seems, however, that one of the outcomes of the coup was to increase corruption and the level of actions taken with impunity.

Readers might retort that some things never change; we’d say some things must change.



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