Pitsanu Amwongsa

112Pitsanu Amwongsa was named, with Kraisri Chantarapanya, in yet another case of using the monarchy/royal family name for defrauding others or for enhancing personal wealth and power.

Police had earlier arrested Patthapol Uttarat, alleged to have claimed he was a lieutenant-colonel attached to the Directorate of Joint Intelligence of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Command and with royal links.

Pitsanu and Kraisri were arrested less than two weeks later, accused of similar “fraud.” It was unclear if there was any link between them and Patthapol, other than their modus operandi.

These cases add to a long list of similar cases over the past year that have seen people accused of real or concocted links to Prince Vajiralongkorn or Princess Sirindhorn.

Pitsanu, 65, and Kraisri, 47, were arrested on 18 September 2016 and accused of defrauding recruits into a fake royal guard while on an army base in Nakhon Si Thammarat province. An army report stated that Kraisri claimed to be of royal bloodline, while Pitsanu recruited men to serve as royal bodyguards. They were said to take 2,500 baht per applicant for the allegedly bogus royal guard positions.

Khaosod reported that Kraisri’s name “turned up many news articles over a period of several years detailing his visits to mosques and local government offices in the south.” It states that “[i]n those stories, he was identified as a royal secretary for a distant relative of His Majesty the King, a woman holding the title mom chao named Praphaphan Kornkosiyakart.”

They are likely to be charged with lese majeste, although we may never hear any more about their cases.

Media accounts of Kraisri’s case:

Khaosod, 20 September 2016: “Army Names 2 ‘Royal Impostors’ Behind Fake Royal Guard