Another victim of the royal scam

20 02 2016

We have used the word “scam” in the headline, but we admit that we do not know whose scam this is.

Back in October 2015 Suriyan Sujaritpalawong was secretly arrested and charged with lese majeste. He died in custody at a then secret prison on a military base in Bangkok. His death was not adequately explained and his body was hurriedly cremated.

Suriyan was a well-known fortune teller known to be a close aide to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and a chief organizer of the Bike For Mom and Bike for Dad propaganda events for the prince.

Also arrested were Jirawong Wattanathewasilp, Suriyan’s aide, and Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapha, an officer of the Technology Crime Suppression Division. Prakrom was also charged with lese majeste and also died in custody at the same prison at the military base. Like Suriyan, his death was not adequately explained and his body was cremated within hours of his death.

Khaosod now reports that “[h]igh-ranking police officials including a well-known police spokesman will be prosecuted for allegedly installing a communications device atop Bangkok’s tallest building for a ‘suspicious purpose’ during last August’s Bike for Mom event.”

“Suspicious purpose” raises all kinds of possibilities. We can recall that there were very confused claims, from the junta, of an “assassination plot.”

Is it this alleged “plot” that has “Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri and other unnamed officers face prosecution for malfeasance after their case was forwarded to the national police chief…”. The chief is meant to send the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Could there have been such a plot? Who was the target?

Or could all of this be a further clipping of the prince’s wings? Or is it the prince getting rid of aides he’s fallen out with (a not uncommon event)? It remains guesses.

But back to Prawut, who has not been seen in public since 27 October “when he seemed to be swept up in a crackdown on officials said to be abusing their connections to the monarchy.”

An arrest warrant states that “Prawut for allegedly installing a radio transmitter on the Baiyoke Tower II during the Bike for Mom event.”

The report states that in October there was “a purge of high-level officials accused of defaming the monarchy by exploiting their links, one of the suspects, later found dead in his cell [presumably Prakrom], was accused of sneaking into the skyscraper to install radio devices taken from the Bung Kum Police Station.”

These radio devices were linked with five mobile phones found at Prakrom’s residence and allegedly “tuned in to the signal coming from Baiyoke II, which led to an accusation of unauthorized eavesdropping.”

Who was he alleged to be listening to? The prince? Other royal aides? The Dictator and his minions?

The report says nothing is yet known of “Prawut’s alleged criminal link was to Prakrom” and there is no “mention … of Prawut’s present whereabouts.”

All of this is confused and deliberately so.


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