The military regime is having a devil of a time getting its lese majeste purge story straight.
Three or four days ago, Pol Lt Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, acting deputy national police chief in charge of the investigation, was reported in a Bangkok Post story as announcing that “between 40 and 50 military major generals and colonels could be involved in the current high-profile lese majeste case…”.
Within 24 hours, that story was wound back with shouts about “no solid evidence” and mumbles that the police boss “had been misquoted.” Even so, it was reported that the “army has launched a probe into reports a major general and a colonel…”. Of these two, it was reported that one was “a senior officer attached to the Army Secretary Office,” and the other had fled over the border to Myanmar.
Asia Sentinel tried to help out, but that story is not what the regime wants heard.
After 48 hours, it is reported that “[n]o military officers were involved in the latest lese majeste case, according to a police investigation to date, which is 90% complete.”
The very same Pol Lt Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, acting deputy police chief in charge of the investigation, “said although Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, the key suspect in custody, had implicated some army officers, his testimony was not accepted.”
Not accepted? Well, certainly not accepted by “Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his deputy, Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, [who] denied the reports, saying they had no knowledge of their involvement in the case.”
In a land under the military boot, where the junta is engaged in all manner of manipulation and censorship, perhaps this “no knowledge” is sufficient to bring the police into line and to get the public story straight.
But maybe not. The Bangkok Post seems less than convinced, adding this detail to its story:
But it was reported on Friday Col Yutthapong Klantakasuwan, head of the Thai-Myanmar local border committee, sent an urgent letter to Myanmar authorities, seeking the deportation of Col Kachachart Boondee of the 3rd Army Region, who had illegally crossed the Mae Hong Son border to Myanmar on Nov 1.
Col Kachachart was promoted to deputy commander of the 11th Circle Army by former army chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr shortly before Gen Udomdej retired on Sept 30.
However, when Gen Theerachai Nakvanich took over as army chief, he transferred Col Kachachart back to the 3rd Army Region as chief of staff on Oct 5.
Pol Gen Srivara said on Friday if the colonel is deported, police might invite him for questioning as Mr Suriyan had been photographed in the company of several officers on various occasions. [Suriyan was a celebrity astrologer to many in the Army and other services, so if photos are evidence, then there are hundreds involved.]
“If the investigation leads to anyone, we’ll definitely take legal action even if he is a military officer. But to date, there are only three suspects in this case,” Pol Gen Srivara said.
“As for the persons implicated by the suspects, we have yet to charge them,” he said.
The police general added the investigation is almost complete, pending some forensic tests.
We doubt many people will believe any of this tale. The truth is not permitted or allowed when the monarchy, palace and royal family is involved.