It’s still a military regime III

29 05 2020

Without a hint of shame, the regime continues to display it military-ness.

The Bangkok Post reports on the “kickback scandal involving state quarantine contracts” which it says the Defense Ministry states is “being investigated by police…”. Great, you might think, the longstanding kickback system is getting some attention. But is it? And how is it being done?

Defense spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich explains that it is his ministry that conducted the “preliminary probe [and] had found evidence the accused had demanded ‘commission fees’ from hotel operators in the eastern region so their facilities could be chosen as state quarantine centres.” He added that a person with the initial “Phor” is one of those revealed by the Ministry of Defense’s “probe.”

This is all very smelly and very fishy. Why is the Defense Ministry the first line of investigation? Is the Ministry responsible for the quarantine centers? Well, no, it is the joint responsibility of that ministry and Public Health. Has Public Health been investigating? And why the buffalo manure about initials?

While Lt Gen Kongcheep said his “ministry had submitted evidence to police for further investigation…”, PPT reckons this could well be about pre-emptive posterior protection. One suggestion of that is when the Lt Gen declares that “the accused individuals acted on their own and their alleged misconduct had nothing to do with the organisations with which they are affiliated.” That screams cover-up.

Then there’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who has pretty much been sidelined in the virus response after his initial loudmouthed failures, and who has “denied public health officials were involved in the kickback scandal but said the ministry was ready to investigate any tips.” This also screams cover-up.

And, then, there’s the whole issue of the Ministry of Defense leading such matters. That screams military regime.

As if to prove that Thailand remains under the regime’s thumb, and using the virus as an excuse, Prachatai reports that police in “Songkhla Province have turned down a request to hold an anti-seawall public gathering at Muang Ngam beach, claiming it would violate the Emergency Decree on Covid-19 control. Many people still went to express their objections on the beach where the construction is taking place, while police took video recordings and photos.”

Prachatai also reports that on the “6th anniversary of the 22 May 2014 military coup, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) launched a new report on Thailand’s human rights situation As if the NCPO Never Left: Six Years after the Coup and the Persistence of Human Rights Violations, highlighting ongoing violations of freedom of expression and freedom of association which have persisted since the end of the NCPO regime.” Abuses are rampant.

Thailand remains a country under the military jackboot.


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