Further updated: More junta corruption

6 02 2018

Long-time readers will know that PPT has had considerable commentary on former police chief General  Somyos Pumpanmuang.

Much of that commentary had to do with corruption. General Somyos is now head of the Thailand Football Association,  where he claims to be battling corruption involving match-fixing. What a joke. The fox is in charge of the chickens. Somyos had long and arguably corrupt business relationships with mining companies, and at the time of his retirement as Thailand’s top cop, was one of its wealthiest policemen. Somyos was known to have ordered police to support companies he had previously worked with. He was so wealthy that he gave rewards to cops out of his own bag of money.

Now General Somyos tells Thailand that  “he had borrowed a huge sum of money from the fugitive owner of the Victoria’s Secret Massage brothel, Kampol Wirathepsuporn.”

PPT noted this relationship in mid-January, with photos.

Pol Gen Somyos says Kampol and he “were friends and the latter loaned him money on several occasions.” How much? Somyos says “about 300 million baht changed hands between them.”

That’s about 10 times more than the “borrowed” watches that General Prawit Wongsuwan claims to have had from “friends.”

Like the Deputy Dictator, Somyos “explains” that he and the massage parlor owner are “friends and of course friends do help each other. I was in trouble and asked him for help several times.”

We can only wonder what “help” Pol Gen Somyos provided for his friend.

At the same time, we can only remain puzzled as to how a man who reported assets of 375 million baht back in 2014 got that money and how he was still able to borrow 300 million from a flesh trader.

It should be noticed that none of the civil and military bureaucrats who have served the junta were almost all “unusually wealthy.”

Update 1: A reader thinks we should not be calling this case “junta corruption.” We disagree. Reporting has made it clear that Somyos “borrowed” these huge sums when he was police chief, working for the junta.

Update 2: Soonruth Bunyamanee is a deputy editor at the Bangkok Post and has a useful op-ed on this case. We agree with much that he says. However, we disagree with a couple of his points. To nitpick, we think it is a bit of a fudge to refer to this case as a reminder of how “deeply the patronage system is entrenched in Thai society.” In fact, this is another example of the deep corruption that underpins relationships between business and officials. More specifically, this is an example of how the police make money through the protection and shake-down rackets they run and how powerful businesses get more profits from the way these rackets are run. Almost all senior police become hugely wealthy from their positions and the manner in which they extract money. Of course, these relationships often become chummy or even “regularized.” One such “regularization” was seen in another case under the junta, where city police chief Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn declared that the giant alcohol and beverage producer Thai Beverage Plc pays him 600,000 baht a year as an “adviser.” ThaiBev is controlled by one of Thailand’s richest, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. In the end, this instance of corruption was considered normal and not a crime.

The other nitpick we have is when Soonruth says, “it’s not wrong for Pol Gen Somyot to have the owner of a massage parlour as a friend.” We think this is wrong. According to reports on the case, this massage parlor was engaged in multiple illegal activities from paying off officials and police to stealing water and human trafficking. Why would any top cop want to be associated with such criminal activities? Of course, for the money!


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23 09 2018
Corruption under the junta | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Thai official of the Ministry of Transport, former police chief General Somyos Pumpanmuang’s “borrowed” money, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda’s alleged approval of the purchase of hundreds of […]

23 09 2018
Corruption under the junta | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Thai official of the Ministry of Transport, former police chief General Somyos Pumpanmuang’s “borrowed” money, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda’s alleged approval of the purchase of hundreds of […]

7 04 2021
One of the cover-ups | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Gen Somyos “explained” that he and the massage parlor owner were “friends and of course friends do help each other. I was in trouble and asked him for help several times.” One of those bits of “help” was a 300 million baht “loan” from the flesh trader. […]