Updated: Junta-style business (as usual) II

21 03 2020

The regime is pressing ahead with its usual political business, playing dirty.

This was probably clearest in a short report that had the horrid Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam at work declaring with obvious glee that virus or no virus, “[a]ll political parties must hold annual general meetings no later than next month…”, warning that ” a failure to hold the meetings would be a breach of the act.” The meeting “required as political parties must furnish a report on their activities over the past year and submit it to the Election Commission…”. We guess that not doing so means the party is dead. The post-junta regime would love that.

Then there’s the action being taken by Gen Prawit Wongsuwan to silence opposition MP Rangsiman Rome, formerly of the Future Forward Party. Prawit is doing this via proxies at the so-called Forest Conversation Foundation, which has nothing much to do with conservation, and who are claiming to have been defamed. Prawit does not want details of his various business dealings being revealed.

Nothing much changes it seems.

And, while convicted heroin smuggler and serial liar Thammanat Prompao has gone into hiding isolation, the mask saga continues, mostly with police “raids” that are meant to indicate that the regime is doing something about the smuggling and price gouging that hung to Thammanat like a bag of heroin flour and to others who have been accused of profiteering.

In the most remarkable of these PR raids and arrests, also seeing the judiciary involved as it processed the cases faster than 2 million masks disappear, vendors were arrested, charged and convitced, fined and/or jailed in quick time. A report at the Bangkok Post has these details:

Five vendors have been sentenced to between six months and 18 months in jail for selling face masks at inflated prices while two others have got a suspended jail term and a fine of 25,000 baht each….

They were charged with selling face masks, which are on the price control list, at inflated prices….

[As usual] All defendants confessed to the charges.

One possessed 4,000 face masks for sale and was jailed for three years, another had 750 face masks and got two years and the rest had between 8 and 125 face masks. Yes, 8 masks. The sentences for diabolical crimes are often less and the relatively poor pay the price for government PR stunts and the big fish are free.

Update: We notice that some bigger hauls have been made. In one case it is said that “[p]olice have confiscated nearly 130,000 surgical face masks in Sa Kaeo and Chon Buri and charged a number of suspects with smuggling and contravening price controls…”. In the Sa Kaeo arrests, those arrested said “that they had been paid 2,000 baht to carry 65,000 masks from Cambodia.” Who is paying them? We couldn’t hazard a guess, but we are sure readers will have some ideas.


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