Kamonthat Thanathornkhositjira

KamolthatPPT has a page for the Montra Yokrattanakan or “Ying Kai” lese majeste case. Several other cases are pending, related to Ying Kai’s case and an alleged “network.”

Ying Kai’s elder sister, Kamonthat  Thanathornkhositjira or Kim-eng Sae Tia and former Royal Household Bureau employee Taworn Puangpratoom, have both been accused of being members of an alleged criminal plot, fraud and lese majeste.

On 18 November 2016, Kamonthat was sentenced to 150 years jail on 33 charges. This was halved for a guilty plea. It was also reduced to 50 years, the maximum permitted under the law.

Kamonthat, aged 62, was detained on 26 August 2016. She was accused of fraud and falsifying documents, and with alleged links to lese majeste offences, presumably those Ying Kai stands accused of.

Police raided a Lat Phrao Soi 60 condominium and searched three luxury units for “further evidence related to lese majeste offences.”

She was accused of invoking the royal institution in a fund-raising scam that swindled more than 3 million baht from victims. However, other, much larger figures, are also mentioned. The search reportedly found valuable items like antique porcelain, ivory tusks, swords, statues and amulets. Documents and some valuable items bearing royal emblems were also taken away.

(This all sounds like the reporting of the Pongpat case and that of Mor Yong.)

The second person being investigated is Taworn, aged 66, who was “detained” on 29 August 2016, at his home in Huay Kwang. Taworn was charged as an accomplice of Kamonthat. He also faces allegations of fraud and falsifying documents in a scheme involving lese majeste offences.

The arrest of Taworn is “seen as a significant breakthrough in the case.” What is significant is that he “worked at the [Royal Household B]ureau’s Royal Chamberlains Division (Chitralada Palace)…”.

The third man is identified as Somsak or Sak Siriyakom, who is still at large when she was arrested. He was later arrested and charged.

Several people have  lodged complaints with police that they were conned by the alleged Kim-eng scheme. They include senior Army officers. The “scheme” seems to have involved taking donations after a television program where Kamonthat lauded the monarchy.

The list of offenses grew and grew, with the alleged crimes said to have taken place between 1 November 2010 and 16 March 2014.

Kamonthat was declared guilty of lese majeste, fraud, falsifying documents and “invoking the royal institution.” She is said to have made or used fake documents purported to be from the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary and of conning people to contribute money for royal kathin ceremonies.

Kamonthat was sentenced along with and alleged accomplice Sak Siriyakhom, 50. Other alleged accomplices are Pol Lt Col. Ekkasit Thanathornkositjit, 68, and Taworn Puanprathum [sometimes Puangpratoom], 66, who have opted to fight the charges.

Sak received 144 years on 31 charges. The two were also ordered to repay 5.14 million baht to the damaged parties, a trifling amount in anything associated with the royal house.

There is obviously much more going on in these cases than the press reports – for fear of Article 112 – and questions remain about whether this alleged fraud was, at one time, sanctioned by some royal figure and that these persons managed to alienate that figure, resulting in punishment. We just don’t know. Of course, the lese majeste law is much about limiting information that involves royals.

Media accounts of Kamonthat’s case:

See the page on Ying Kai for early reports on the case.

Bangkok Post, 18 November 2016: “Half-sister of ‘Ying Kai’ jailed for 50 years

Khaosod, 31 August 2016: “Former Palace Employee Arrested in Connection With Alleged Royal Impostors

Bangkok Post, 31 August 2016: “More arrests as ‘Kim-eng’ lese majeste plot unravels

Bangkok Post, 27 August 2016: “Sister of Ying Kai arrested