Further updated: Does Prawit have 365 watches? II

16 01 2018

About 5 days ago we had a post on the Deputy Dictator’s luxury watches. In it we noted that the count of the watches was 18 and added: “but that might have increased over the last 24 hours.”

The count has increased, by 5. Or one each 24 hours. Khaosod reports that the most recent count is 23.

Not Prawit’s watches?

Equally odd, the report appears to refer to backtracking by the National Anti-Corruption Commission:

Gen. Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, chief of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, or NACC, said Monday that Prawit has filed no explanation with his agency, weeks after another high-ranking commission official said they’d already received it.

Yet another report, in the Bangkok Post, the very same NACC boss is reported quite differently:

 Pol Gen Watcharapol said he was aware Gen Prawit had sent two explanation letters to his office, adding the agency will tread carefully on all aspects related to the case, which is drawing a great deal of public attention.

He either has reported or he hasn’t. We suspect the issue is with the reporting by the newspapers, but even so, Watcharapol also says “the case has not yet been sent to the commissioners for consideration.”

Whichever way you look at it, this is a political flashpoint.

The Post also has a sentence that refers to a rumor that “people in the military and business circles had jointly invested in an expensive wristwatch scheme…”, seeming to suggest that General Prawit Wongsuwan is “renting” or “sharing” his watches. Believe it or not.

Update 1: Another day, another luxury watch hanging on the Deputy Dictator’s arm. No. 24 has been identified.

With a range of senior people on the hard yellow side of politics criticizing Prawit, and even Democrat Party “leader” Abhisit Vejjajiva joining in, political support for Prawit is draining faster than a battery in a cheap quartz watch.

Abhisit has appeared to be seeking to drive a wedge between Prawit and The Dictator, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. He says the watch scandal is undermining Prayuth’s credibility and political prospects.

Gen Prawit has blinked, saying he “is ready to step down from the cabinet if the anti-graft agency found the case against him has grounds.” Or, more precisely, if the NACC “concludes in the investigation that he had committed wrongdoing over the wristwatch saga.” That does leave things rather open-ended, but a blink is a blink.

Gen Prawit told reporters the “watches belonged to his friends and all have been returned…”.

Update 2: A new story at the Bangkok Post adds some important nuance to its earlier story, linked above at Update 1.

This newer story indicates that Prawit is angered – “irate” – about being chased over his 24 (and still counting) luxury timepieces. He asserted “all” of the “24 luxury watches belong to his friends,” that he had returned all of them, and that he “threatened to resign…”, but from the cabinet and “only if the national graft-busting agency decides there are sufficient grounds to pursue a case against him.” The Post says this “outburst by Gen Prawit marks the first time he has clarified [that’s a stupid word used by the Post, for there’s no clarity at all] where the watches came from…”. Prawit stated: “that he had borrowed the watches and only wore them occasionally, insisting he is not a collector.”

The report also indicates how “good” people are turning against Prawit. This can get more interesting still and the NACC is being forced into a corner where it must do something other than stall. A cover-up will be politically explosive. Prawit’s ouster will also be politically destabilizing for a junta bent on extending its authority and power.


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19 01 2018
When the military is on top XII | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] crescendo of opposition to the military government.” Others are pleased to see the detestable Abhisit Vejjaiva “damning” the military government with language that is advisory in tone on General Prawit Wongsuwan’s […]

19 01 2018
When the military is on top XII | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] crescendo of opposition to the military government.” Others are pleased to see the detestable Abhisit Vejjaiva “damning” the military government with language that is advisory in tone on General Prawit Wongsuwan’s […]