Lese majeste, Thaksin and palace intrigue

9 12 2014

Readers will recall that about a week ago the Bangkok Military Court issued an arrest warrant for Nopporn Suppipat, one of Thailand’s 50 wealthiest people in the scandal that engulfed the Crown Prince’s wife’s family.

Forbes lists Nopporn as a rich lister, worth US$800 million. He is/was boss of Wind Energy Holding Co., and was reportedly wanted on charges of defaming the monarchy by using royal influence to hire others to physically assault and threaten others.

At Channel News Asia it is reported that Nopporn “broke cover to protest his innocence Sunday (Dec 7) in a graft probe that has seen relatives of the crown prince’s wife arrested.”

Nopporn reportedly “denied police accusations that he helped orchestrate the kidnapping of a man who owed him money…”.

He apparently “fled to Cambodia on November 30 after discovering he would be charged under Thailand’s lese majeste law.” He fled because, as he says: “I knew ‘112’ would mean I wouldn’t get bail… I couldn’t take that risk…”.

The report states that “the investigation has also seen the palace fall under a rare spotlight at a time of deep uncertainty.”

Nopporn denies any connection to the princess’s relatives. He says “he was engaged in a lengthy court dispute over money with the businessman, eventually enlisting the help of a senior army officer to help negotiate a final settlement. Nopporn said the officer hired the Akkharapongprichas without his knowledge.”

The tycoon explained that “he believed he was being targeted because he was perceived as being close to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra…”. He denies he is a Thaksin supporter and says the “police believed I was close to Thaksin, and with that I knew I had to run…”.

Nopporn said he “had no intention of returning to Thailand any time soon because he believed he would be unable to get a fair hearing in the junta-led nation.”



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