Chotechuang Khongkaew

Chotechuang KhongkaewAuthorities in Nong Khai have arrested Chotechuang Khongkaew, 61, alleging that he falsely used the name of the monarchy in a business fraud related to a water management project. He was accused of both fraud and lese majeste.

It is reported that Chotechuang is a former Royal Irrigation Department employee, who allegedly claimed that Nong Khai Province was looking to hire companies to conduct projects as part of a huge water management project dedicated to the king.

Chotechuang allegedly claimed that he was an adviser to the project. It is stated that some 50 companies won bids and paid a marginal deposit of 5% of the value of each sub-project to Chotechuang’s company.

When the provincial governor denied official involvement in the project, which had already begun. This resulted in Kanoksak Muangkaew, owner of one of the companies which won a bid and paid a deposit, and had started work lodging a complaint. This came after the authorities ordered the company to stop work and the provincial governor denied involvement in such projects.

It s reported that Chotechuang has pleaded guilty, but it remains unclear which charges were involved in that plea.

It also remains unclear how such an enormous project, valued at billions of baht, got underway in such a small place. PPT suspects there is much more to this case than is reported, and that it may represent a business-state official “deal” gone bad. We may never know the truth because of the lese majeste “cone of silence.”

Media accounts of Chotechuang’s case:

Prachatai, 26 January 2015: “Man faces lèse majesté charge after allegedly citing King in water project scam