Updated: A corrupt general and his bling

7 12 2017

Just yesterday we noted that when the new cabinet convened for a group photo in front of Government House a social media storm erupted over Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan wearing a watch worth more than four times his annual salary.

It is not uncommon for generals are often obsessed by expensive watches. They are also attached to bling, with, for example, Prawit often seen wearing expensive diamond rings that cost a small fortune and he wears heavy gold chains and amulets.

Khaosod reported that versions of the Rolex watch worn by Prawit can sell for up to 24 million baht, with even the lowest priced models in this range go for 11-12 million baht.

Caught out, the “second in command of the ruling junta said … he’s willing to discuss his taste for luxury wristwatches with an anti-corruption agency, but not the public – and certainly not reporters.”

Of course not! We might add that dozens of cases involving this regime have gone to the National Anti-Corruption Commission but none have resulted in any action. Dozens more cases of unusually rich members of the junta and its puppet legislators have never been investigated.

When pushed, Prawit refused to “specify if he obtained the watch before or after taking office.” He responded:

“Don’t know. I won’t answer. I will answer to the NACC. I don’t know why I should answer to you people. If I answered, the media will elaborate on it,” Prawit said, insisting he has not been involved in any corruption.

The media soon revealed that the seemingly pricey watch (we doubt he’d wear a fake) was not included in the Deputy Dictator’s 2014 asset declaration. This led the junta’s NACC to state that it “plans to launch an investigation into … Prawit Wongsuwan’s possession of what appears to be an extravagantly luxurious watch, which has not been declared in his assets.” Previous experience suggests a whitewash is likely.

The Bangkok Post did more digging on social media and online and added that the diamond ring worn by Prawit (he’s been wearing it for months) was worth about 4 million baht. In other words, in the group photo, Prawit was wearing bling worth from 16 to 30 million baht.

The Post also compared Prawit’s 2008 and 2014 asset declarations. In 2008, he reported assets of almost 57 million baht and salary/income of about 830,000 baht. In 2014, his assets grew to about 87 million baht and his income rose to 874,000 baht. Almost all the change in assets was in cash in the bank, which increased by about 28 million baht over the six years. The NACC didn’t see reason to ask how that increase happened.

We will not be holding our breath waiting for the NACC to come up with an “explanation” for Prawit’s expensive trinkets.

Update: While it is widely known, the Bangkok Post actually reported that NACC president Police General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit was not just appointed under the junta (which only appoints the “trustworthy”) but a “a close aide of Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon, younger brother of Gen Prawit, when Pol Gen Patcharawat served as the police chief.” It adds:

After the May 2014 coup, Pol Gen Watcharapol was appointed secretary-general handling political affairs for Gen Prawit who became deputy prime minister. After being selected later as NACC president, Pol Gen Watcharapol assured the public that the NACC would be independent and transparent under his presidency, saying the NACC welcomed any attempt by the media to hold it accountable.

That’s how military dictatorship rolls.


Actions

Information

18 responses

12 12 2017
Pots and kettles II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Bangkok Post also reports that Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan will tell the National Anti-Corruption Commission that his luxury watch was “lent” to […]

12 12 2017
Pots and kettles II | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Bangkok Post also reports that Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan will tell the National Anti-Corruption Commission that his luxury watch was “lent” to […]

13 12 2017
Babble on bling | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] defended his Deputy Dictator, seeming to blame the media for General Prawit Wongsuwan’s bling problem and accusing it of seeking to split the two dictatorial […]

13 12 2017
Babble on bling | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] defended his Deputy Dictator, seeming to blame the media for General Prawit Wongsuwan’s bling problem and accusing it of seeking to split the two dictatorial […]

29 12 2017
Gen. Bling “explains” | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] all, no one would be surprised that the chief of the NACC Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarn Ratchakij, and old family friend and subordinate is handling most public aspects of the […]

29 12 2017
Gen. Bling “explains” | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] all, no one would be surprised that the chief of the NACC Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarn Ratchakij, and old family friend and subordinate is handling most public aspects of the […]

5 01 2018
Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] tremendous public pressure for the Deputy Dictator to be properly investigated for his luxury horological stash has forced the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to call in Deputy Prime Minister General […]

5 01 2018
All those watches | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] tremendous public pressure for the Deputy Dictator to be properly investigated for his luxury horological stash has forced the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to call in Deputy Prime Minister General […]

9 01 2018
Bling, buddies and bosses | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the beginning it has been reported that NACC president Police General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit was not just appointed by the junta […]

9 01 2018
Bling, buddies and bosses | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the beginning it has been reported that NACC president Police General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit was not just appointed by the junta […]

24 01 2018
NACC boss and his political blink | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] been much criticism of Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, the junta-appointed head of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and his role in the […]

24 01 2018
NACC boss and his political blink | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] been much criticism of Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, the junta-appointed head of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and his role in the […]

8 02 2018
Election (and) time and “deadlines” | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The NACC is said to have written to Gen Prawit on 24 January “asking him to explain the watches but has so far received no response from the deputy premier.” We thought they had written to him in December when the scandal broke. […]

8 02 2018
Election (and) time and “deadlines” | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The NACC is said to have written to Gen Prawit on 24 January “asking him to explain the watches but has so far received no response from the deputy premier.” We thought they had written to him in December when the scandal broke. […]

23 08 2018
Thugs protecting thugs | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] readers know, repeated questions have been raised since December 2018 regarding Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan’s luxury watches. Readers will also know that […]

23 08 2018
Thugs protecting thugs | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] readers know, repeated questions have been raised since December 2018 regarding Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan’s luxury watches. Readers will also know that […]

7 11 2018
All that corruption | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] It is well-known that senior civil servants are generally on the take, so we can understand their fright. But, then again, the NACC doesn’t go after unusually rich so long as they are loyal to the junta. Just think of all those self-declared unusually rich in the National Legislative Assembly or the Deputy Dictator and all his luxury watches. […]

7 11 2018
All that corruption | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] It is well-known that senior civil servants are generally on the take, so we can understand their fright. But, then again, the NACC doesn’t go after unusually rich so long as they are loyal to the junta. Just think of all those self-declared unusually rich in the National Legislative Assembly or the Deputy Dictator and all his luxury watches. […]




%d bloggers like this: