Updated: Newin, Japanese porn and Buriram politics

10 03 2012

Some time ago, PPT took to posting funny, odd or quirky posts related to politics on weekends. We haven’t done that for some time, but can’t resist it today.

The Wall Street Journal carries a rather odd story about Buriram’s political chameleon and champion vote buyer-cum-royalist-cum-football promoter Newin Chidchob. First some background and serious stuff.

Newin and Abhisit with their kit on

Newin is the politician who left the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra fold to have his allied politicians join the Army-brokered deal to hoist the Democrat Party to government and Abhisit Vejjajiva to the premiership in December 2008.

His supporters formed the Bhum Jai Thai Party that grabbed important ministerial posts under Abhisit and milked them for political, personal and financial gain. Newin’s blue shirts also played a significant role in instigating the initial violence that led to the red shirt’s Songkhran uprising. Newin also pioneered the contemporary mobilization of ultra-royalists through fostering a campaign that painted the crown as under threat.

Newin, whose 5-year political ban is coming to an end in May, has been concentrating his recent efforts on consolidating his control in his home province of Buriram after cracks appeared in the 2011 election. His promotion of football has been a big part of this effort.

Like many old-style and wealthy provincial politicians Newin has a thuggish nak leng/gangster chao phor character. Often arrogant, men of this ilk often do things that raise eyebrows and draw criticism.

Now to Newin’s latest “coup.” The WSJ claims that he “plans to import a team of Japanese adult video [porn] stars to liven up the Thai New Year celebrations in his hometown of Buriram.” He appears to believe that “having stars from Japan’s pornography industry dance and sing at Buriram’s celebrations” would be good for tourism.

Newin told “local television this week, … [that] the Japanese performers would not be any naughtier than local dancers…”. Newin said that celebrations of Songkhran were already raunchy in Thailand, so why not add the foreign porn stars. We doubt Newin will be getting naked in public.

It is one of those “huh?/”really?” stories from provincial Thailand that brings a chuckle but incredulity as well. As the report points out, it isn’t “clear why Mr. Newin is stirring up what he surely knows to be a hornet’s nest. He couldn’t immediately be reached for further comment.” The WSJ speculates on tourism and politics and embarrassing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra while she is in Japan, as well as simply getting attention.

The WSJ reckons this plan will cause Newin political damage. Somehow we doubt it. Newin wants crowds, and this wacky idea will do that for him.

Update: An eagle-eyed reader has pointed out that we missed an important connection for Newin, and not nearly so wacky as the Japanese porno link. This most serious link was reported a few days ago in Prachatai, referring to one of the thuggish twins Supot and Supat Silarat who were kind of jailed for bashing Nitirat activist Worachet Pakeerut.

Matichon reported on 6 March that, according to Somsak Puapan, Thanyaburi District Chief, in Nov 2010 Suphot registered a semi-automatic .45 pistol, which was distributed in a government officials’ welfare programme, using an identification card as a volunteer ranger attached to Ranger Taskforce 26 in Buriram province, issued by a colonel in May 2008 which expired in May 2010.

Suphat also used a similar identification card to register two semi-automatic 9mm pistols, a Beretta and an NZU 707 Glock, the latter distributed to officials of the Department of Provincial Administration.

Readers may recall that Newin has long mobilized “volunteer rangers” and some of these were said by some to be the core of the blue shirts. The idea that the twins could be Newin’s hired or “volunteer” thugs is highly likely.


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