Updated: Family affairs II

29 11 2014

Much of the media is necessarily reporting around Thailand’s big story.

For some it is Thailand’s top cop – himself being rich and allegedly corrupt – uncovering a police-controlled “mafia” ring, arresting at least seven police officers some 20 civilians. Assets seized are likely worth more than US$30 million.

This is said to be a “massive criminal network,” engaged in bribery, artifact smuggling, money laundering, illegal gambling, oil trading, prostitution and lese majeste.

The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, says this case is an example of the junta’s crackdown on corruption.

But then the allegations of lese majeste complicate this junta story to the extent that almost no informed reader believes any of it.

Even the BBC has reported the story in a way that shows the real interests involved:Name withdrawn

Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has asked the government to strip his wife’s family of their royally bestowed name.

It comes after seven of her close relatives were arrested in a purge of officials allegedly involved in corruption.

Princess Srirasmi Akrapongpreecha is Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s third wife, and the pair married in 2001.

The move is widely expected to be a first step to divorce.

He was already known to be estranged from the princess, although they continued to attend official functions together.

How politically important the big story is awaits a more fuller playing out of the details.

In the previous divorces, there were some implications for the monarchy, but with a strong king on the throne, these were PR problems. With a death watch on for the king and queen, the prince seems to be clearing away family problems in preparation for succession, and having a military dictatorship in place could ensure control over negative outcomes from the public slagging of the soon to be ex-wife. Yet Thailand’s politics is inherently unstable at present, so outcomes remain unpredictable

There are also implications for number 1 son Dipangkorn Rasmijoti. Last time when he sent a wife packing, the sons went too.

Update: The Bangkok Post report on the royal name story is worth reading. It adds:

Natthapol Kerdampang, Sitthisak Kerdampang and Narong Kerdampang are among five suspects arrested on Wednesday in connection with the CIB corruption probe. They are accused of citing the monarchy to obtain benefits and money, illegally collecting debts, illegally detaining people and extortion.

The same charges have been pressed against Pol Lt Gen Pongpat.

Mr Natthapol and Mr Sitthisak have been sacked from posts in the Chief of Staff’s Office at the Crown Prince’s command centre, Pol Lt Gen Prawut said. Mr Natthapol was an assistant administrative officer and Mr Sitthisak was a clerk. Mr Narong was also dismissed from the Royal Household Bureau civil service.

 


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30 11 2014
Recent lese majeste case updates | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] 1. The sensational use of lese majeste by Crown Prince Vajirlongkorn and the police, with military junta support, has been widely reported, here, here, here and here. […]