Updated: Rule of what?

12 01 2023

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights has released a press statement by Charles Santiago, APHR Chair on media reports “that Min Aung Hlaing, head of the Myanmar junta, and his family have ties with Tun Min Latt, a man arrested in Thailand on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering…”. While some might think this about Myanmar affairs, it is also about Thailand and the decline of rule of law.

Santiago states: “… It is a well-known fact that the Myanmar generals have been engaging in illicit businesses for decades. Senior officers like Min Aung Hlaing not only plunder Myanmar’s natural resources paying close to no taxes, but are also involved in the narcotic trade, or at the very least turn a blind eye to it and are paid for doing so.” And adds:

… The Thai authorities should conduct an investigation on the ties of Min Aung Hlaing and his family with the underworld, and make its findings public. If it is found that they have broken Thai laws, they should be charged in a Thai court.

Readers might recall that, naturally enough in Thailand, Tun Min Latt has “connections.” One of them is Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun. Yes, one of the junta’s approved senators.

Less than a month ago, it was reported that prosecutors in Thailand had (secretly) indicted Thai-American Dean Gultula and Tun Min Latt “for their alleged roles in laundering drug money by purchasing energy from a Thai state-owned company, and sending it over the border to be sold in Myanmar.”

Senator Upakit is Gultula’s father-in-law.

Back in October 2022, an arrest warrant was issued for Senator Upakit “in connection with an alleged drug trafficking and money laundering ring operating out of a casino in the Golden Triangle.” But, the warrant was “quickly canceled.”

Then, the case was said to be “a test for Thailand’s law enforcement and justice systems…”. Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome “said police could be under pressure from powerful people seeking to protect Upakit from prosecution.” He called for a transparent investigation.

He’s likely to be disappointed. Justice is for sale under the regime, especially as it splinters and cash is the most significant electoral asset.

Update: Prachatai has a story on this topic.



One response

25 01 2023
Nothing much changes | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Prachatai: Reader might recall the case of Tun Min Latt and others arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, and the […]

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