The palace, lese majeste and the prince’s business

15 12 2014

A few days ago PPT commented on a new lese majeste case against Sudathip Muangnual. In that post it was stated that Sudathip was first arrested late in November, but was not charged with lese majeste then. Later, with “new evidence,” it was reported that police detained Sudathip for questioning and accused her “of citing the royal institution to help her win a contract to supply food for an establishment. People affected by Ms Sudathip’s alleged misconduct lodged complaints with Sam Sen police station…”.

The bit about “an establishment” seemed odd at the time. It is now clear why. Khaosod reports that the lese majeste police are “looking for more suspects who allegedly cited connections with the palace to discourage other business owners from supplying the Thai Royal Family with food products.”

It is now stated that Sudathip “was arrested on 10 December after the Royal Household Bureau filed a complaint accusing her of selling overpriced products to the palace of Thailand’s Crown Prince.”

A couple of points to be made here. First, the Royal Household Bureau has made the complaint that seems to have led to a lese majeste charge. Second, it seems the Royal Household Bureau and those in the prince’s household don’t know reasonable prices for food.

On the second point, according to court documents, “Sudathip won the contract to supply the Crown Prince’s palace kitchen staff with chili paste that costs 300 baht per kilogram – twice the average price in Thai markets – and boiled cabbage that costs 90 baht per kilogram…”.

Does anyone believe this nonsense?

According to the complaint made by Royal Household Bureau, “Sudathip won the rights to supply the palace with food products by pressuring other business owners to drop out of the contract bid by citing her ties to the Royal Family.” She did indeed have “ties,” via the family of then third wife to the prince, and when she was royal wife, this was okay. Now the prince is house cleaning. No doubt the hangers-on for the new wife will get the spoils.

That anyone should get up to 15 years in prison for standard practice in royal circles in bizarre.

As in most lese majeste cases, Sudathip has been denied release on bail.



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