Locking ’em up

30 01 2015

Several media reports – including the Bangkok Post – on the rapid trials and sentencing of “former Central Investigation Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayapan and five other policemen were sentenced to 12 years in jail, commuted by half because they confessed to charges of lese majeste and involvement in illegal casinos…”.

No surprises there at all. What is surprising is the claims that “prosecutors filed the charges against them in three cases on Thursday” and they were convicted on Friday. On such “delicate” cases with considerable political interest and high levels of “influence,” we guess getting them tried and convicted quickly is demanded, but 24 hours seems supersonic.

Pongpat and his former deputy Pol Maj Gen Kowit Wongroongroj “were charged with lese majeste, malfeasance and provision for gambling.” On the lese majeste charge, the Bangkok Post reports:

[the] duo allegedly put the Royal Crest pin on their shoulders and put a badge bearing the portrait of … Prince Dhipankara Rasmijoti, the son of … Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and the former … Princess Srirasm, on their left pockets at all times to indicate the casino they were protecting had the palace’s backing.

We would suggest that the this claim to protection carried considerable weight given Pongpat was Srirasmi’s uncle and the prince was widely rumored to be involved in gambling dens.

It is also reported that a “second case [involved]… Pol Lt Gen Pongpat, Pol Maj Gen Kowit and Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb Praithuen, 55, a former marine police chief, were charged with soliciting and accepting bribes, malfeasance and lese majeste.”

The indictment claimed:

“they committed lese majeste because they wore police uniforms with a badge bearing … Prince Dhipankara Rasmijoti’s portrait on the pockets when they solicited the bribes. Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb also allegedly pointed to the badge and claimed the bribes would be submitted to their supervisor and then to the prince.

We wonder if there is any evidence to deny these claims?

A third case involved “Pol Lt Gen Pongpat, Pol Maj Gen Kowit and Pol Col Vutthichart Luensukan, 46, a former chief of the police Consumer Protection Division, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Surasak Channgao, 50, and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chattrin Laothong, 48, were accused of receiving bribes for transfers and promotion at the CIB.”

The six former policemen all pleaded guilty to all of the charges. They had little choice. House cleaning seems to be a particularly bitter affair.


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19 10 2015
More household cleansing | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the prince’s household (amongst all the posts at the time, see here, here, here, here, there, here and also […]

19 10 2015
More household cleansing | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the prince’s household (amongst all the posts at the time, see here, here, here, here, there, here and also […]