Pongpat Chayapan

Pongpat ChayapanPongpat Chayapan is a former Central Investigation Bureau chief alleged to have developed a massive criminal network that apparently worked in the name of Prince Vajiralongkorn.

Pongpat is the uncle of former Princess Srirasmi who was stripped of her royal title and thrown out of the royal family at the same time that Pongpat’s alleged criminal network was exposed.

In a remarkable pile of charges, Pongpat was also alleged to have used the Prince’s name in engaging in his huge number of alleged “crimes.”

His lese majeste case, with five others, went to prosecutors on 29 December 2014. On 30 January 2015, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years, halved to six for the required guilty plea.

The others involved were his deputy Pol Maj Gen Kowit Wongrungroj, former chief of the Marine Police Division Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb Phraithuean, former chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Sub-Division 4 Pol Col Wuthichat Liansukhon, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Surasak Channgao and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chattrin Laothong have been charged with lese majeste along with Pongpat.

On 30 January 2015, all these alleged accomplices were also convicted, sentenced to 12 years in jail, halved for guilty pleas.

Pongpat’s alleged criminal network was said to have used the Prince’s name in engaging in his huge number of alleged “crimes.”

Charges against Pongpat and his alleged accomplices involved three cases were brought on 29 January 2015 and they were convicted the following day. On such “delicate” cases with considerable political interest and high levels of “influence,” having them tried, convicted and locked away is demanded, but 24 hours was supersonic for the Thai “justice” system.

Pongpat and Kowit “were charged with lese majeste, malfeasance and provision for gambling.” On the lese majeste charge, the Bangkok Post reported that the duo “allegedly put the Royal Crest pin on their shoulders and put a badge bearing the portrait of … Prince Dhipankara Rasmijoti, the son of … Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and the former … Princess Srirasm, on their left pockets at all times to indicate the casino they were protecting had the palace’s backing.”

We would suggest that the this claim to protection carried considerable weight given Pongpat was Srirasmi’s uncle and the prince was widely rumored to be involved in gambling dens.

It is also reported that a second case involved Pol Lt Gen Pongpat, Pol Maj Gen Kowit and Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb were charged with soliciting and accepting bribes, malfeasance and lese majeste.

The indictment on those charges claimed that these men “committed lese majeste because they wore police uniforms with a badge bearing … Prince Dhipankara Rasmijoti’s portrait on the pockets when they solicited the bribes. Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb also allegedly pointed to the badge and claimed the bribes would be submitted to their supervisor and then to the prince.”

We wonder if any evidence of the prince’s involvement could even have been considered. In other words, we doubt that these men could have even considered defending themselves.

A third case involved Pol Lt Gen Pongpat, Pol Maj Gen Kowit and Pol Col Vutthichart Luensukan, 46, a former chief of the police Consumer Protection Division, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Surasak Channgao, 50, and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chattrin Laothong, 48, who were all accused of receiving bribes for transfers and promotion at the CIB. That is pretty much “normal” in the police, and has been so for decades.

By the end of February 2015, Pongpat had been sentenced to 31 years and 9 months.

In early December 2015, backdated to 23 November, Pongpat and two of his associates, Kowit Wongrungroj and Boonsueb Praithuen, were officially stripped of their royal decorations and police ranks.

Media accounts of Pongpat’s case:

Bangkok Post, 5 December 2015: “Pongpat and aides stripped of rank, decorations

Bangkok Post, 26 February 2015: “Pongpat’s prison terms now exceed 30 years

Bangkok Post, 30 January 2015: “Pongpat sent to prison for 6 years in first case

Prachatai, 30 January 2015: “Criminal court sentenced two high ranking police accused of lese majeste to 12 years in prison

Bangkok Post, 28 December 2014: “4 more cops surrender

Bangkok Post, 28 December 2014: “Pongpat charges ready for prosecutors

Bangkok Post, 27 December 2014: “Pongpat in hospital for chest pain

Bangkok Post, 25 December 2014: “9 cops eyed in betting scam

Bangkok Post, 25 December 2014: “Police hunt more suspects in Pongpat case

Bangkok Post, 23 December 2014: “Panel urges Pongpat’s firing

Bangkok Post, 21 December 2014: “More warrants out for Pongpat group

The Nation, 21 December 2014: “Two Pongpat network members face additional charges

Phuket Gazette, 18 December 2014: “Marine Police ex-chief admits to B150mn in bribes; hundreds of police to be reassigned

The Nation, 16 December 2014: “Amlo seizes Bt38m from bank accounts linked to Pongpat

Bangkok Post, 16 December 2014: “111 Pongpat-linked accounts frozen

The Nation, 16 December 2014: “Hundreds of police reassigned

The Diplomat, 15 December 2014: “A Thai Princess’ Fairy Tale Comes to an End

Bangkok Post, 15 December 2014: “2 more Pongpat-linked warrants out

Khaosod, 14 December 2014: “Police Expand Investigation Over ‘Lese Majeste Foodstuff Conspiracy’

Bangkok Post, 14 December 2014: “Top officer flees CIB graft probe

Bangkok Post, 11 December 2014: “Pongpat cohort hauled in

Bangkok Post, 9 December 2014: “Amlo freezes Pongpat’s title deeds

Bangkok Post, 9 December 2014: “Pongpat’s 104 land plots frozen

Straits Times, 8 December 2014: “Thai Prince cleans house with eye on throne

Bangkok Post, 8 December 2014: “Police back probe as mogul hits out”

Bangkok Post, 6 December 2014: “Woman linked to Pongpat gang

The Phnom Penh Post, 5 December 2014: “Thai police eye Pailin for fugitive

Bangkok Post, 4 December 2014: “Warrants out for 2 more Pongpat suspects

Bangkok Post, 3 December 2014: “Warrants for more CIB gang suspects

Bangkok Post, 3 December 2014: “Half of Pongpat’s seized art ‘fake’

Bangkok Post, 2 December 2014: “Fine Arts: Seized artefacts genuine

Live Trading News, 2 December 2014: “Probe Involving Thailand Princess’ Family Widens

International Business Times, 2 December 2014: “Thailand’s Royal Family Embroiled In Corruption Scandal

Pattaya Mail, 2 December 2014: “Ex-CIB chief’s safes will be opened; more suspects will surrender

Bangkok Post, 1 December 2014: “Police offer B1m for information on fugitive Sia Jo

Bangkok Post, 1 December 2014: “Pongpat allies surrender

Bangkok Post, 1 December 2014: “NACC to investigate Pongpat’s wealth

International Business Times, 1 December 2014: “Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn Revokes Wife’s Family of Royally-Appointed Name

New York Times, 30 November 2014: “Kin of Thai Princess Stripped of Royal Name

Straits Times, 29 November 2014: “Office of Thai Crown Prince revokes wife’s family name after graft probe link to her kin

Bangkok Post, 28 November 2014: “5 more face arrest in ex-CIB boss case

Pattaya Mail, 28 November 2014: “Police to examine assets seized from former CIB chief

Bangkok Post, 26 November 2014: “Somyot denies more arrest warrants imminent

Pattaya Mail, 26 November 2014: “Police chief asserts crimes of ex-CIB chief, accomplices

The Guardian, 26 November 2014: “Thai police’s internal investigation into corruption widens following arrests

Bangkok Post, 25 November 2014: “PM backs Pongpat gang probe

Bangkok Post, 25 November 2014:”Pongpat’s sister, brother-in-law held

Bangkok Post, 25 November 2014: “MPB charges Pongpat, 11 more

Channel NewsAsia, 25 November 2014: “Thailand charges 10 police personnel over illegal activities

Bangkok Post, 24 November 2014: “More detention for top police, civilians

Bangkok Post, 23 November 2014: “Ex-CIB chief, 6 cops held over bribery

Bangkok Post, 14 November 2014: “CSD chief, senior crime buster removed

 

16 responses

28 12 2014
The prince’s lese majeste cases | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] first is former Central Investigation Bureau chief Pongpat Chayapan. There’s been plenty of media attention to Pongpat, who is former Princess Srirasmi’s […]

29 12 2014
Updated: The prince’s lese majeste cases | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] PPT has completed a listing of English-language news reports on these cases. Most are listed at Pongpat’s page. If we have missed anything important, let us know by […]

11 02 2015
Family lese majeste | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] de-royalified and publicly humiliated. Almost 30 persons associated with her and her family and former networks linked to the prince’s palace have been charged with lese majeste and other […]

11 02 2015
Family lese majeste | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] de-royalified and publicly humiliated. Almost 30 persons associated with her and her family and former networks linked to the prince’s palace have been charged with lese majeste and other […]

1 03 2015
Royals know nothing | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] It was reported that Panita Suwadee, a sister of the former princess, “insisted that no members of the Royal Family were aware of the alleged crime syndicate run by Srirasmi’s uncle, Pol.Lt.Gen. Pongpat Chayaphan.” […]

1 03 2015
Royals know nothing | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] It was reported that Panita Suwadee, a sister of the former princess, “insisted that no members of the Royal Family were aware of the alleged crime syndicate run by Srirasmi’s uncle, Pol.Lt.Gen. Pongpat Chayaphan.” […]

14 05 2015
A land deal lese majeste conviction | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Pongpat has already been sentenced to 12 years and Kowit to the same, both halved for guilty pleas, along with more than two dozen others involved in cases of association with Srirasmi, the former third wife to Prince Vajiralongkorn. […]

14 05 2015
A land deal lese majeste conviction | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Pongpat has already been sentenced to 12 years and Kowit to the same, both halved for guilty pleas, along with more than two dozen others involved in cases of association with Srirasmi, the former third wife to Prince Vajiralongkorn. […]

23 10 2015
Strange maneuverings | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] are “similar to the criminal case against former Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pongpat Chayaphan, whose criminal network was brought down late last […]

23 10 2015
Strange maneuverings | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] are “similar to the criminal case against former Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pongpat Chayaphan, whose criminal network was brought down late last […]

28 10 2015
Official cover-up II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] mean Pongpat Chayapan. We find this interesting, to say the least. Wasn’t all of Pongpat’s loot said to have […]

28 10 2015
Official cover-up II | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] mean Pongpat Chayapan. We find this interesting, to say the least. Wasn’t all of Pongpat’s loot said to have […]

8 07 2016
Lese majeste and hi-so fraud and deception | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the case has echos of earlier cases of lese majeste linked to Crown Prince Vajiralonkorn and the mass arrests and jailing on lese majeste charges that followed his estrangement from then Princess […]

8 07 2016
Lese majeste and hi-so fraud and deception | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the case has echos of earlier cases of lese majeste linked to Crown Prince Vajiralonkorn and the mass arrests and jailing on lese majeste charges that followed his estrangement from then Princess […]

15 07 2016
Strange lese majeste cases continue | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] with the Ying Kai case of lese majeste, the deaths in custody and the late 2014 lese majeste purge, Prachatai reports another odd lese majeste […]

15 07 2016
Strange lese majeste cases continue | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] with the Ying Kai case of lese majeste, the deaths in custody and the late 2014 lese majeste purge, Prachatai reports another odd lese majeste […]