The rotten system II

17 09 2021

The smell from the rotten system is overpowering.

Remember the case of Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and his two dozen luxury watches? He said he had borrowed the watches from a former classmate, Patthawat Suksriwong, who was dead, but that he had returned them. Remember how the National Anti-Corruption Commission exonerated him on unexplained – some might say, bogus – grounds?

That smelly story is back. Thai PBS reports that the “The Central Administrative Court has ordered Thailand’s anti-graft watchdog, the … NACC…, to reveal its findings from an investigation into the expensive wristwatches seen being worn in public by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit…”.

The court seems to recognize that the NACC is so politically-biased that it is widely viewed as a regime tool when it “ruled that, the disclosure of the findings…, including witness testimonies and Gen Prawit’s own testimonies, will demonstrate the transparency and accountability of the NACC and will enhance public trust and confidence in the agency.”

The NACC says it is considering what to do. We might guess that it is seeking advice from the likes of regime legal fixer Wissanu Krea-ngam and Gen Prawit himself.

Remember Pol Col Thitisan Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari,” recently caught on camera suffocating a man to death with plastic bags while “interrogating” a suspect and trying to extort money? You might think that Joe learned his plastic bag trick from watching gangster movies. But it seems he may have been trained by the police. Prachatai reports on “the case of Somsak Chuenchit and his 12-year effort to bring the police officers who tortured his son by beating and suffocating him with plastic bags during an interrogation.” The report states:

On 28 January 2009, Ritthirong ‘Shop’ Chuenchit ,18, was returning from a cinema in Prachinburi Province with a friend when he was stopped by the police. His clothing and motorcycle helmet reportedly fit the description given to police by a woman who had earlier been the victim of a gold necklace-snatching.

At the police station, the woman identified Ritthirong as the person who had taken her necklace. Ignoring his assertion of innocence, the interrogating officers beat the handcuffed youth and then suffocated him in a bid to determine where the necklace was hidden. Whenever Ritthirong chewed holes in the plastic bags to breathe, more were placed over his head.

Chuenchit survived but was framed and traumatized.

Remember the activists kept in jail for months when arrested and refused bail? Prachatai reports that the Court of Appeal granted bail to activists Phromsorn Weerathamjaree, Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Jadnok, Thatchapong Kaedam, and Nutchanon Pairoj on 15 September, after having been denied bail several times. Several other activists continue to be detained without bail, including Arnon Nampa and Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa. A rotten regime prefers that its opponents remain in jail, face never-ending repression and under threat.

The regime is rotten, the system is rotten.





Police “truth”

14 09 2021

If there was ever a prize for “fake news,” the police would win, streets ahead of their many official rivals.

The most recent example of the police blatantly making stuff up involves a police van running down a pedestrian late on Sunday.

According to Thai PBS:

Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) denied today (Monday) an accusation by anti-government protesters that a police truck had hit a “Talugas” protester and then fled the scene at Din Daeng intersection during a protest on Sunday night.

MPB Commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Pakapong Phongpetra told a news conference this morning that the alleged hit-and-run incident occurred at almost midnight on Sunday as a police van, used to hold suspects and driven by a police lance corporal was heading back to a police station.

He said that the sound of explosions was being heard periodically at the time and a group of about 7 protesters suddenly dashed onto the road, forcing the officer to brake aggressively, but the van hit one of the protesters.

According to the police officer’s statement, the victim managed to stand up and flee the scene, so he sped away in the truck, for fear that he might be attacked if he had stopped.

Pol Lt-Gen Pakapong insisted that [the] driver did not deliberately drive into the small group of protesters as alleged and, hence, his action did not constitute a hit-and-run incident.

He also said that the officer subsequently filed a complaint with Din Daeng police, accusing the protesters of attacking the police truck and attempting to assault him adding, however, that the accident victim can also file a complaint with the Din Daeng police.

The Nation reports this way:

An investigation has been launched into an incident on Sunday when a police vehicle hit a protester while allegedly trying to flee a group of attackers. The vehicle was seriously damaged, and police are collecting evidence to take action against the perpetrators….

[Police] said initial investigation shows that the vehicle belonged to the Plubpla Chai 1 Police Station and was being driven by Sergeant Noraset (last name withheld).

Sgt Noraset arrived at the intersection when a group of six or seven people ran towards his vehicle and began hitting it with sticks and other objects. They also shattered the windscreen on the driver’s side.

Sgt Noraset said he kept hearing “explosions”, so decided to speed away. However, he ended up hitting a protester who suddenly showed up in front of the car. The crash made a tyre burst and brought the vehicle to a standstill.

Clipped from The Nation

None of this appears to be entirely truthful.

Thai Examiner reports:

A police detention vehicle ran into a protester during protests at Din Daeng intersection, police confirmed Monday.

The moment at 11:55 pm Sunday was captured in footage published on Facebook Livestream by online news agency The Reporters.

It shows a police van accelerating through an intersection, before braking just as it hits a man running across the road, knocking him down. The van then stops some way down the road while passers-by help the man off the road, before the clip ends.

The footage remains at The Reporters Facebook page and does not appear to support the police version of events. Looks like more official fake news to us. Having said that, we also need to put this in the context of police (and other officials) habitually lying and making stuff up. It is a pattern born of impunity.





Updated: Corrupt coppers and the rotten system

7 09 2021

Rotten

The stories about corrupt cops keep coming. We could say rotten to the core, but rotten at the top is more appropriate.

The Bangkok Post reports that Pol Col Thitisan “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari,” caught on camera suffocating a man to death, has more money than any cop deserves.

Investigators say they have found he “owns property with an estimated value of at least 600 million baht.” We’d guess that this figure is an underestimate.

The investigators found Joe had “considerable assets in money and property,” saying this all came “from arrest rewards and tax-evasion concerning the import and sale of luxury vehicles, many of which had earlier been seized by the Customs Department.”

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

This is the investigators excusing Joes’ great wealth.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Suchart Theerasawat claimed Joe had “seized 410 imported cars for tax evasion and then gone on to oversee and profit from their auction by the Customs Department.”

Seriously? Even if accurate, did no one more senior than Joe not think this unusual? Of course not. Sounds like a scam to us.

But that’s how the Royal Thai Police operate.

Added to this corrupt tale is more reporting on the hit-and-run case involving the scion of the Red Bull empire, Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, who ran over and killed a lowly policeman and then fled the scene to his family palace.

A decision to “decide whether or not to endorse the findings of an internal disciplinary probe against Nate Naksuk, a former deputy attorney-general, over his questionable handling of the case. Nate was “backed by another high-ranking public prosecutor” in deciding to “drop the charge against … Vorayuth,” using “new” evidence “which painted the deceased victim of the crash as being responsible for his death.”

An internal team was assigned to probe if  Nate did anything wrong in using what seems concocted and paid-for “evidence.” Leaks suggest Nate is being let off. There’s no end to cover-ups.

Some time ago, following a public outcry over earlier cover-ups, Vicha Mahakun led a panel “which eventually found irregularities and interventions that were aimed to whitewash the wealthy scion.” Vicha and his panel “found evidence of intervention by officials, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, lawyers and witnesses.”

The Post states:

It is time the RTP wakes up to reality. The agency can no longer buy time with the hope that the public will soon forget. Thais can easily forget many, many things — but certainly not the Red Bull’s scion hit-and-run case.

Yet they keep getting away with murder, literally. The system is rotten, run by rotten men, all of whom benefit from the rotten system.

Update: Jonathan Head of the BBC in Bangkok has a useful and detailed story on the corrupt cop Joe Ferrari.





Royalism corrupts

4 09 2021

The judicial system has lost much of the precarious public support it once had. Now, the only standards used are double standards.

Admittedly, the police were never held in high esteem, known to be murderous and thoroughly corrupt. But judges and prosecutors also display wanton corruption and never-ending double standards.

While some judges still try to hold some standards and to adjudicate the law, the deepening royalism of the judiciary has overwhelmed them. Political cases litter the judicial playing field, with judges taking decisions based on notions of “Thainess,” “good” vs “bad” people, on orders from the top or made for reasons that seem to bear no relationship to written law. Not a few judges have been shown to be corrupt.

A Bangkok Post picture

Meanwhile, prosecutors do as they are told and, in some cases, as they are paid. Wealthy killers get off with the support of corrupt prosecutors. Kids get prosecuted for political crimes. Working hand in royal glove with judges, prosecutors oppose bail in political cases, seeking to damage “suspects” through lese majeste torture and, now, the threat of virus infection in prison for political prisoners.

On the latter, as the Bangkok Post reports that “activist Chartchai Kaedam is one among many political prisoners infected with Covid-19.” His condition is cause for much concern.

A petition has been lodged with the National Human Rights Commission “demanding an investigation into how a Karen rights activist contracted Covid-19 while imprisoned,…” pointing out that “he is not a criminal and should be allowed bail, especially given his health condition…”. The petition added that “bringing innocent people into a contagious environment such as a prison during a deadly virus outbreak violates their rights..”.

The NHRC has been pretty hopeless since it was politicized under the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, but in this case, Commissioner Sayamol Kraiyoorawong says “staff have made some ‘unofficial’ attempts to get information from the Department of Corrections about his [Chartchai’s] condition and treatment.” But guess what: “Under the Covid-19 crisis, we [NHRC] have not been allowed access to the prison to see people…”. Other concerned by his condition are also denied information. Prachatai reports that the “his family and lawyer were not able to speak to his doctor or obtain information on his condition.”

The impression is of a callous, deliberately dangerous, and unjust system seeking to punish even those not convicted of a crime and held without bail on trifling charges. Of course, they are political charges.

In another branch of the royalist swill, the police are still at it. Pol Col Thitisan “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari,” has reportedly been charged “with premeditated murder by means of torture, unlawful deprivation of liberty and malfeasance.” Despite all the evidence leaked, Joe now claims “he just ‘assaulted’ the victim, and did not torture and murder him.” He’ll probably get off. The pattern will be for witnesses to be paid off or strong-armed, for the case to be drawn out for years, and with public attention having moved on, and judges gingered up and rewarded, Joe might get a suspended sentence. That’s how the system rots.

All in all, this is a sorry tale of how royalism corrupts, money corrupts, and political preferences corrupt.

But never fear, “good” people are at work. Into this fetid swamp masquerading as a judicial system, come the Education Ministry, “planning to modify the history curriculum in schools to strengthen learning amid recent moves by youth groups against the kingdom’s highest institution [they mean the monarchy].” Yes, cleaning up Thailand means pouring palace propaganda into children. We suppose that this is an admission that the never-ending and expensive royalist buffalo manure over 50 years has failed to get sufficient cowering acquiescence. We do know that those who have drunk most at the fount of royalist propaganda are the most corrupt.

 





The rotten system I

31 08 2021

In a recent post we wrote about how a rotten system operates in Thailand, allowing corruption, disappearance, torture, and murder in the interest of the “good people,” the loyalists.

Strikingly, a report in the Bangkok Post further illustrates how this decayed system operates. The story is about Pol Maj Gen Phumin Pumpanmuang and the Special Operations Police he commands.

Our studied cynicism is on display below. We are not suggesting that Phumin is corrupt, but we observe that many of the posts he has held are coveted by the corrupt.

Somyos and his loot

If Pol Maj Gen Phumin’s family name is familiar, it is because former national police chief, Somyos Phumpanmuang, is his uncle. We have posted plenty on the uncle who was corrupt – unusually wealthy – and univestigated by the state’s anti-corruption bodies.

The report says that the SOP is “a new unit within the Royal Thai Police whose broad remit ranges from combatting drugs to protecting the Crown.” It is said to be “little known.”  We don’t think this is the Ratchawallop Police Retainers, King’s Guard 904 mentioned in previous posts, although readers might correct us.

In the report, Pol Maj Gen Phumin says the (in)famous surname “is both a blessing and a curse.” He said he has had “to prove that he is able to rise through the ranks on his own merit.” He seems to imply that there’s a meritocracy in the police. In fact, nepotism is common in the police and the military. At the senior level it is almost a rule.

The nepotism begins early. Phumin says “that as a young child, he would tag along with Pol Gen Somyot, then a mid-ranking investigator, on missions.” Later, when “his uncle became the deputy chief investigator at Phra Khanong station, Pol Maj Gen Phumin recalled, he was allowed to join the team on a gambling den raid.”

He was socialized with both the police gangs and the criminal gangs.

Like almost all of the top brass, he attended the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School before going on to the Royal Police Cadet Academy. These academies instill the necessary royalism, adherence to hierarchy, and establish “class” relations that allow for money-making, favors, and impunity.

After graduating, Phumin was assigned to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, “where he learned the ropes for two years.” It is difficult to single out many straight coppers in that Bureau, where corruption and thuggery reign. He went on to the Marine Police Division, long in cahoots with smugglers.

Pol Maj Gen Phumin was also used as a decoy in a sting which went south when he was a young officer in Suphan Buri. After his cover was compromised, the suspect fired at him, but missed. It was there that he killed his first “suspect.”

He continued to the “Metropolitan Police Division 1, where he was involved in stamping out drugs.” The police are better known for managing the supply of drugs. He went on to the Crime Suppression Division, and was posted to Phuket, one of the most lucrative posts for police bosses, and one that requires lots of political support or a big bribe to get the post. He became “head of the island’s marine and tourist police branches.” Those positions are highly sought after for the wealth they create.

When he became SOP commander, he was promoted “to the rank of police major general.” It was also a position that must have the support of the king as the “unit also provides security to the King and members of the royal family.” Think elephant ticket:

His rise to the SOP’s top seat triggered heated debate. In the previous no-confidence session in parliament, an MP from the Move Forward Party suggested his rapid career advancement was the result of a blessing from “the higher institution”.

Pol Maj Gen Phumin insists he “earned his promotions through hard work.” He adds:

I know I have what it takes to be where I am…. There are quite a few anti-monarchists around. The SOP’s roles also include instilling the right understanding [about the monarchy’s closeness to people]….

Although the SOP is a new unit in the RTP, it has more than 1,500 personnel already. Its officers undergo extensive training, including anti-terrorism courses, tactical parachuting and sharp shooting.

You see how the rotten system works, all the way to the top. Men like Phumin will do whatever the king orders, legal or not.





Reflecting the regime III

30 08 2021

Paritta Wangkiat is a Bangkok Post columnist and has an op-ed on the murderous cop.

Describing the murder of a suspect as an “outrage,” she refers to the “torturing and killing [of] a drug suspect … [in] custody,” as a crime that “would have disappeared unless a grisly video clip of the deed was exposed on social media.” She adds: “The public would never have known, nor would legal action have been taken against this group of rogue policemen.”

One of the subordinate policemen, Pol LCpl Pawikorn Khammarew, “was quoted by his adoptive mother as telling reporters that he must strictly follow the former superintendent’s orders.” He said: “If you are there, there is nothing much you can do but follow orders…”. If he refused, he would have been punished.

All of this sounded sadly familiar.

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

We recall the disappeared, the tortured and the murdered. The circumstances may be different, but the crimes of the authorities are the same. In the current case, senior cops have been silent and have encouraged the murderous cop. It is as if the victims don’t count. We see the same in the cases of monarchy critics who are disappeared, tortured and murdered.

The Bangkok Post reports on suggestions of a cover-up, aided and abetted by senior police. Because there’s no video evidence, the state’s murderers in other cases are unnamed and silent. But they all serve the same masters.

The regime of “good people” is rotten to the core.





Further updated: Rich cop revs up

28 08 2021

Pol Col Thitisan “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari,” who was caught on camera suffocating a man to death, is doing all the things corrupt “good people” do when in a spot of bother.

Muddying the waters and getting some sympathy from other “good people.” The most notable report is of lawyer Sittha Biabangkerd, who released the video of the murder, being hit with a defamation complaint and other charges, in a case that was filed on Friday. The report states:

The defamation suit was filed against him by Decha Kittiwitthayanun, a lawyer who was also in possession of the viral video before it was released on social media.

“I have filed a complaint to prosecute Mr Sittha for defamation and violation of the Computer Crime Act after he accused me of trying to blackmail the former chief of police at Muang Nakhon Sawan police station,” he said.

Sittha told the media on Tuesday that he got the clip from a low-ranking officer and before he released the clip, the low-ranking officer has sent the video to Decha first but he refused to release… it to the public because we wanted to blackmail Joe for money.

Of course, the obvious question is why Decha sat on the video. He says he “… decided not to make it public because the case was under investigation and he does not want to tamper with the evidence.” Right….

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

Meanwhile, the dullards at the National Anti-Corruption Commission have brilliantly determined that there might just be something wrong with the fabulously wealth murderer, stating it “believes that Thitisan, also known on social media as “Jo Ferrari” from his lavish lifestyle as a sport car enthusiast, has become unusually wealthy…”. Wow, what a revelation! Now, will Joe be hung out to dry or will the NACC cover it up? Stay tuned.

As to muddying the waters, sources in the regime have let it be known that Joe may not be “unusually wealthy.” According to a graphic in the Bangkok Post, as a policeman “investigating” illegal car imports, Pol Col Thitisan made a mint getting “rewards” for seizing them. There are two problems with this. First, the Post does a simplistic calculation of rewards all accruing to Joe over almost 400 cars. That is very unlikely. Second, we are only surmising, but if Joe owned lots of luxury cars, we can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t a neat scam going on.

And when there’s a police scam, the illicit funds are shared all the way to the top. Reason enough for a cover-up.

Update 1: Many think the cover-up is well underway, facilitated by senior police (among others). The Bangkok Post reports that the “Lawyers Association of Thailand (LAT) … criticised senior officers for allowing Pol Col Thitisan to speak to reporters during the press conference at the CSD on Thursday night.”

The LAT pointed out that the police acted illegally: “The remarks could influence public feeling or investigators, while damaged parties and witnesses may also be pressured, which could affect the justice process…”.

More pointedly, the LAT demanded that “investigators … find out who drove Pol Col Thitisan to meet Pol Maj Gen Ekarak Limsangkat, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 6, in Chon Buri last Wednesday.” Of course, “Pol Maj Gen Ekarak told the press conference that he could not remember the licence plate number of the white car which Pol Col Thitisan left.” This screams collusion. As we said, the corruption feeds the system, right to the very top.

Naturally enough, Joe Ferrari has denied all charges.

Update 2: The cover-up gains momentum, with Thai Enquirer reporting that “defense team and senior police officers close to Pol Col Thitisant “Joe Ferrari” Uttanapol plan on arguing that Thitisant was only guilty of manslaughter and not murder…. [with] police investigators conducting official inquiries into the matter plan[ning] on recommending a manslaughter case instead of second-degree murder charges.” One officer stated: “I think they’re prepared for the public backlash should they go through with it but [it is] apparent Khun Thitisant has friends in high places…”.

When Pol Col Thitisan’s lawyers denied all charges they opened the way for the downgrading of charges and opened the possibility of a reduced or suspended jail sentence. The report states: “It is understood that Thitisant might agree to manslaughter charges should the Office of the Attorney General accept the police’s recommendation.”

This is the usual way that such cases go; it is essentially, standard practice.It also raised questions about just how high the murderer’s connections go.





Updated: Reflecting the regime II

27 08 2021

Continuing with our posts about  things that define the regime’s royalist Thailand, there have been several reports in the last few days that do just that.

The Thai Enquirer’s Cod Satrusayang responded to the release of a video showing a senior police officer suffocating an alleged drug dealer while demanding a large bribe.

Of course, the video went viral, with an investigation launched. But there was a here-we-go-again feeling. We’ve been here before. We’ve seen and heard it before. And there was cynical resignation as many on social media predicted another cover-up. As Cod says, “we should be more surprised and shocked at the footage rather than nod along grimly.

After all, police and military enjoy impunity and the levels of corruption are legendary. Just think of the Red Bull hit-and-run case, the Korat killings, the Saudi Blue Diamond saga, the 2010 murder of red shirts, the forced disappearing and murder of numerous political figures, the shooting of Chaiyapoom Pasae, the Tak Bai deaths, and we could go on and on.

Cod puts it this way: The time has come to ask whether officers like this murderer is the exception or the rule.” He adds: Given the reality of things and given how endemic corruption is within the police force maybe the time has come to consider not just reforming the police but dissolving the force altogether.”

AP adds on this story, detailing the crimes. Police Col Thitisant “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari” who was caught on camera suffocating a man to death. It was Joe who tortured Jeerapong Thanapat, a 24-year-old drug suspect, attempting to extort two million baht from him. Like Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, Joe is on the lam.

It isn’t just murderous police who define the “good people” regime, but this regime is defined by failed/compromised institutions.

The police are hopeless, with allegations of police brutality and corruption common. The video was leaked to lawyer Sittha Biabangkerd who “received a complaint from a junior policeman in Nakhon Sawan…”. That policeman reported the usual cover-up:

When the suspect died, Thitisan allegedly ordered his men to take the body to the hospital and tell the doctor the death was caused by a drug overdose. The junior policeman said the woman was released but told not to say anything about it, and that Thitisan paid the victim’s father to remain silent.

The Bangkok Post reported that the “junior police officer … sought … help in forwarding the clip to the national police chief.” More revealingly, that junior officer and his fellow officers feared they would be killed!

The Royal Thai Police is a failed institution, operating more as a criminal gang than a police force.

But what about the rest of the bureaucracy which abet the police (or fear them)?

The “state-run Sawanpracharak Hospital, which issued a death certificate for the dead drug suspect, have defended their finding that ‘methamphetamine poisoning’ was the cause of death.” This after a “forensic examination.” Police told was “a private hospital that the man fell down and lost consciousness while he was running away from police who were chasing him during a drug crackdown.” Corruption? You bet.

How big is the corruption? Huge. Found at Pol Col Thitisan’s 60-million-baht house in Bangkok were 29 luxury cars worth more than 100 million baht. It is impossible that this great wealth could have been missed by anti-corruption agencies. After all, Ferrari Joe boasted about it on social media.

But, the hopeless NACC is now on the job, belatedly “probing the unusual wealth of Pol Col Thitisan…”.

A police source said Pol Col Thitisan wasn’t this rich from the beginning but he has built his own wealth out of some grey area businesses including trading edible bird’s nests while he was a deputy sub-division chief at Narcotics Suppression Division 4, overseeing drug suppression operations in the South.

The photos below are from the Bangkok Post, showing just some of Joe’s assets.

The story continues:

He later moved on to making money out of suppressing the smuggling of luxury cars and supercars in the South. He earned a lot of money from rewards offered for seizing such cars — 45% of the value of the car confiscated — and handing them over the Customs Department for resale through an auction….

Not bad for a cop earning less than 50,000 baht a month. But no one should bat an eyelid, for there are dozens of army generals, navy admirals, air force air marshals, and police generals who have declared unusual wealth to the NACC, and it has done nothing, zilch. That was in 2014.

So there’s a range of corrupt institutions. The NACC is at the pinnacle, rejecting any number of cases against the regime.

Thai Enquirer points out the obvious:

Somehow the Office of the Inspector General, the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) keeps missing these high-earning cops and generals.

Do we trust these organizations to investigate the case further? See if this is part of something bigger? Doubt it.

The NACC repeats is compromised inaction again and again. As The Nation reports, it can’t “reveal Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam’s assets…” despite being “asked by the Official Information Commission to reveal what assets had been declared by Prayut and Wissanu when they took office.” According to Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, NACC president, “the commission can only store information and investigate if there are any discrepancies, but cannot reveal details.”

But what about all those generals? Nothing. What about the fabulous wealth of convicted drug dealer/deputy minister Thammanat Prompao? Nothing.

Of course, “nothing” protects the “good people.”

And another related story. why is it that cabinet “approved the proposal by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to amend the prime minister’s order regarding the procurement of antigen test kits (ATK) by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO)…”.

That order “stipulated that the antigen test kit the GPO would purchase must be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by the Thailand Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

That’s now ditched so that Chinese kits can be purchased from Beijing-based Lepu Medical Technology. That contract is for about 600 million baht for kits “banned in the United States due to a high risk of false results.”

The regime is rotten to the core.

Update: The murdering cop story gets worse by the day by the actions of the most senior police. Those bosses are appointed by the regime because of their political positions and based on links to powerbrokers, including the palace.

Joe Ferrari has been taken into custody. As usual, he was not tracked down, but negotiated a surrender to police in one of the most corrupt jurisdictions, Cholburi.

Startingly, national police chief Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk, himself worth almost 105 million baht, then gave the murderer a national stage. In allowing the suspect to speak to the nation via national television, Gen Suwat appeared to support Pol Col Thitisan when he “said social media had been reporting that Thitisant was trying to extort the dead drug dealer so he wanted people ‘to hear what happened from the mouth of the person who had committed the crime’.”

Parts of Thitisant’s speech to the nation is reported in the linked post.

What was Gen Suwat thinking? Cod Satrusayang provides something of an answer, suggesting that Thailand is “an alternative Nazi-inspired universe”:

You see Joe Ferrari is one of the good people. Despite murdering an alleged drug dealer in cold blood, with a plastic bag, while his men held the guy down, he is a good person. Never mind that this is the kind of scene you’d expect to see in a Nazi movie, Joe is a good person.

You see Joe is a good person because he is a “relentless crime fighter,” because he volunteers with royalists, because he is polite and clean cut. He is a good person.

He is not a bad person like the unruly protesters who do not know their place, who dare to question the establishment.

He adds, that the contrast with anti-monarchy/pro-democracy protester Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak:

I was in the newsroom when police arrested Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak in the middle of the night, put him in an unmarked van, and sent him to a police station in the suburbs for processing.

There was no press conference, there was no fanfare, it was the Thai deep state working efficiently to suppress, gag, and detain those that would question the current establishment.

It was chilling, frustrating, Kafkaesque.

It made me question how I ever bought into the land of smiles lie, that Thailand’s paternal autocracy was built to work for and protect its people.

The regime is loathsome, rotten to the core, festering, bloated, and putrescent.





Investigating until the buffalo come home

18 07 2021

One of the ways to obscure real investigation is to establish a large number of “investigation” teams and committees so that nothing much happens, even if it seems that it is.

In that context, we wonder about a Bangkok Post report that yet another senior cop has been appointed to the case involving the “hit-and-run case involving Vorayuth Yoovidhya, scion of the Red Bull empire.”

It states that “Pol Gen Visanu Prasattongosoth, a police inspector-general, has been appointed to head a fact-finding probe into the alleged mishandling of the … case…”. His appointment was required because “one of the police officers to be questioned is a police general serving as a deputy police chief.”

That refers to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Manu Mekmok and concerns “his role as commissioner of the police’s Office of Forensic Science.” That’s where there’s been much alleged tampering with evidence and science.

Others set to be investigated are “Pol Lt Gen Tawatchai Mekprasertsuk, in his former capacity as commander of the Central Police Forensic Science Division; Pol Col Wiwat Sitthisoradej, in his former capacity as a narcotics lab officer; and Pol Col Viradol Thapthimdee, in his former capacity as a Thong Lor station investigator.”

Corruption goes to the top when it comes to purchasing “justice.”

The panel Pol Gen Visanu now chairs was “set up in September last year” but nothing much has been heard from it since then. Will there ever be findings from this or the other committees that will deliver real justice. We would hope so. But, after all these years and the influence of the rich and powerful, we are not optimistic.





Secret money

24 06 2021

A recent story in Thai PBS reveals the secret funds used mainly by the military. Of course, the existence of secret funds has been known and controversial for many years, but this report seeks to remind us of the corruption of parliamentary and budgetary processes by the power of the military.

Vaji's bahtBudget papers are voluminous and the budget vetting committee has limited time to scrutinize it. Even so, the opposition reckons it has found secret budgets worth more than Bt1 billion in the 2022 budget. These are funds allocated to state offices with no stated use. That is, their use is secret.

The budget vetting committee can cut some budget items but cabinet can reinstate them, and the committee can agree or not, but the budget still goes back to parliament. One way the committee can get some action is by drawing attention to some items members consider problematic. That seems to be what’s happening here.

In this case, it is reported that the budget bill “was criticized by both opposition and some government MPs for allocating large unexplained funds for national security and military purchases at a time when COVID-19 is crippling the economy.”

Puea Thai Party deputy leader Yuttapong Charasathien “cited the lack of details available for the budget allocated to several state agencies.” Mostly he refers to the military. The report states:

The Thai Army set Bt290 million for its secret operations, with Bt62 million going to the Navy, Bt30 million to the Air Force, Bt32 million to the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence, and Bt55million to the Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, said Yuttapong who is also a member of the budget vetting committee.

Military money

Add in the 20 million baht allocated to the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, and the security operations account for a secret 427 million baht.

But that’s not all: “Also unexplained is the Bt558 million of spending for the Prime Minister’s Office, which supervises the National Intelligence Agency and National Security Council, who are set to receive cloaked budgets worth Bt232 and Bt50 million respectively.”

That’s at least 750 million baht for secret operations.

Yuttapong asked: “What is the purpose of the secret spending? Is it for information operations [IO] and to monitor opposition activities?” We take that as a rhetorical question.

Other unexplained secret funds go to the Foreign Ministry and Labour Ministry. No one seems to know why these ministries need secret funds.

Yuttapong states: “If agencies cannot explain their need for such funding, it should be cut…”.

Overall, the “national security budget worth Bt387.9 billion, or 12.5 percent of the total budget.” Meanwhile, spending for public health is 306.7 billion baht.