Updated: Apirat’s responsibility and a call for resignation

29 03 2020

A few days ago we posted on reports that the Army’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium remained operating two days [closer to three] after it was told to shut down.

As a Bangkok Post editorial puts it, the Army  “arrogantly chose to ignore a prime ministerial order dated March 3 that asked all parties to avoid organising sporting events as they could exacerbate the spread of Covid-19.”

It is now known that scores of people attending were infected and have now spread the virus throughout the country. Some may die.

In our earlier post we noted that propaganda photos of Army commander Gen Apirat Kongsompong swabbing streets count for nothing when his commanders act in dangerous ways. After a couple of weeks and the regime having tried to silence the first whistleblower, Apirat belatedly ordered an “investigation.”

The Post editorial pointedly observes that there “are still no apologies from the army or army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong.”

Rotten to the core

It gets worse, showing how the regime’s reliance on the military makes it rotten to the core:

A group of big-wigs, including Senator Surasak Kanchanarat and Deputy Communication Minister Thaworn Senniam who defied the government’s self-isolation order, made an appearance at the stadium that night….

Worse still, it is said the stadium’s military management knew what they were doing, claiming there was no need to cancel the event. Arrogance and impunity mark out much that the military does.

The editorial has its sting in the tail, setting out that “Gen Apirat on March 27 moved the chief of army’s welfare department to an inactive post, pending a probe.” That’s three weeks after the event. “But” as the editorial continues, “the investigation against Maj Gen Rachit is not enough.”

It politely demands that: “At least, the army chief should offer his apologies for such a debacle, caused by his subordinates’ negligence.” It then adds:

With the country still making little progress in the fight against the virus, Gen Apirat, who is top of the army’s hierarchy, should consider showing more responsibility by tendering his resignation.

We can assume will be furious. We await his response.

Update: It isn’t often that we at PPT quote Veera Prateepchaikul at the Bangkok Post. Over the years we have disagreed with most of his political positions. However, he’s strong on Apirat, asking:

Many people, myself included, doubt the probe will lead to any decisive punitive action against the “big fish”. There will, however, likely be some “small fry” who end up as scapegoats.

In his capacity as chairman of the boxing stadium, I wonder whether the probe team, headed by director of the Army Personnel Department, will dare to probe the army chief himself. Worse, we are yet to hear any public apology from him.

We have not seen – or we missed – this direct link to Apirat and the stadium.



7 responses

31 03 2020
Thai Airways, masks, poor policy | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the 90% travel cut goal to flatten the curve of new infections.” That’s a bit rich from a man who deserves derision for his (in)actions. Essentially the regime is happy for the poor to be completely screwed. Apirat […]

4 04 2020
Back to military dictatorship | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] still, Gen Apirat oversees organizations that have flouted civilian orders during the virus crisis and caus…. (Still no apology or serious “investigation” as far as we can […]

11 05 2020
Dogs of internal war | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] has some gaps. More could have been made of the virus hotspot at the Army’s boxing stadium, presided over by Gen Apirat, but the main item that should have been discussed is the military’s relationship with the […]

22 05 2020
It’s still a military regime II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Yes, this is the same military brass responsible for one of Thailand’s major virus outbreaks. […]

23 05 2020
Bovine military | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] wonder about the call for Apirat to take responsibility for the virus cluster at the Army’s boxing […]

7 06 2020
Corrupt army thugs I | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Gen Apirat Kongsompong’s boxing stadium that created Thailand’s largest virus cluster. Back in March, a Bangkok Post editorial stated that the Army  “arrogantly chose to ignore a prime ministerial […]

2 01 2021
Cops, virus and corruption | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the first round of virus infection, much of it had to do with a super-spreader boxing match sponsored by the Army. As is normal for the military, no one senior was ever held […]

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