Corrupt and powerful IV

6 09 2022

Yesterday, PPT’s post finished by linking to Rangsiman Rome’s comments on people in the police holding paid but non-existent positions. We added that we didn’t think this was confined to the cops. We said think the armed forces and the bureaucracy as well. And we asked who is pocketing the billions?

And, as we mentioned in that post, the Bangkok Post is taking a particular interest in the unfolding story. Today, the Post has more to say in an Editorial:

The phenomenon of “ghost recruitment” has cast a long shadow over how the government spends tax money to recruit staff to work in restive southernmost provinces.

The government cannot and must not treat this shameful phenomenon as just more of the same bureaucratic corruption. To prevent the scandal becoming a crisis, a fair and reliable probe must be launched to clear the air about recruitment practices at the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) — a pillar of our national security apparatus in the deep South….

We doubt that many will consider the Cold War era organization a “pillar” of anything much at all. It has been a semi-secret parallel administration that operates for the military. The secrecy associated with it and the more or less unbridled power it wields are the attributes that make it corrupt. It’s role as the military’s Gestapo means that its power and influence has penetrated all aspects of Thai politics as it works to maintain the royalist regime. To do that, its leaders are allowed to harvest the corruption crop. Just think how much loot is harvested when ISOC has 50,000 personnel – well, let’s say funded positions – in the deep south alone!

We can but wonder why the Post thinks “Isoc has handled some vital and risky missions with expertise and deserves its budget and resources.”





Corrupt and powerful III

5 09 2022

While the Bangkok Post seems unconcerned about political prisoners, it has got agitated regarding the “patronage system.” Indeed, it has a very useful detailing of the known events surrounding the case of an alleged maid-abusing Pol Cpl Kornsasi Buayaem and here top-ranked connections and their influence. We recommend reading “More than maid abuse.” It is a remarkable web of inter-connections, corruption, and abuse.

For PPT’s earlier posts, see here and here.

Thinking about the patronage system, one can go back to the criticism of Jakrapob Penkair. A former spokesman for ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, he made a speech at Bangkok’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) on 29 August 2007. Royalists declared the speech anti-monarchy and he had to resign as a minister in May 2008. Jakrapob fled Thailand and remains in exile.

In that speech [opens a PDF that may be considered lese majeste in Thailand], Jakrapob talks of the modern era where the “[p]atronage system is problematic because it encourages unequality [inequality] among individuals. And that’s a direct conflict to Democracy. It encourages one person into thinking of depending on the other or others. It breeds endless number of slaves with a very limited number of masters. It prevents Thailand from coming out of age.”

When the regime talked about patronage, it was usually as something embedded in the electoral democracy associated with Thaksin.

Read the Post story for Rangsiman Rome’s comments on people in the police holding paid but non-existent positions. Think the armed forces and the bureaucracy as well. Who is pocketing the billions? Who is getting a cut?





Updated: Corrupt and powerful II

1 09 2022

A couple of days ago, we posted on alleged maid-abusing Pol Cpl Kornsasi Buayaem. In an update, we noted that Pol Cpl Kornsasi is a mistress of on of the Big P’s brothers.

While the matter is being muddied by several claimants to the mistress, the former maid has “filed additional complaints on Tuesday against a brother of a local politician for human trafficking and forced labour.” The complaint was against “Khomsit Jangphanit, the younger brother of the Photharam municipal mayor in Ratchaburi.”

Meanwhile, “Senator Thani Onlaied and two brothers of the caretaker prime minister, Adm Sitthawat Wongsuwon [also a senator] and Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon, will be called for questioning in alleged connection with helping Kornsasi Buayaem and her maid get state jobs.”

The Post lists some of the extraordinary details:

In 2017, Ms Kornsasi was recruited by the General Staff Division of the Special Branch Bureau of the Royal Thai Police when she was 39 years old even though the maximum age for the position was limited to 35.

She also had a squad leader’s position and was later transferred to Special Branch Bureau’s 1st Division. Around the beginning of this year, she was assigned to perform temporary duty at the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc)’s Region 4 Forward Command of the Royal Thai Army.

Mr Teerajchai [Move Forward Party list MP Teerajchai Phunthumas] said the committee will also investigate Isoc’s Region 4 Forward Command, as there was no record of her actually performing any duties there.

In this regard, the committee wanted to know if the senators, police and soldiers in question were complicit in the case, Mr Teerajchai said.

Recently, the name of a mysterious senator came to light when his name was seen with Pol Cpl Kornsasi’s name on a list of temple donors in Ratchaburi’s Muang district. The board gave their names and mentioned a 120,000 baht donation for building a temple hall.

Mr Thani is also a former member of the NLA and was also related to the high-profile hit-and-run case of Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya in 2012….

Meanwhile, Pol Maj Gen Udon Wongchuen, commander of the Special Branch Bureau’s 1st Division, signed an order on Aug 26, released on Wednesday to the media, saying Pol Cpl Kornsasi has been suspended from duty.

Later, Senator Thani “admitted to a previous close relationship with a policewoman whose alleged abuse of her maid has made headlines, saying they had lost contact long ago.” And, as all good political thugs do, he threatened legal action against anyone defaming him.

There’s a lot in this little saga and expect all kinds of effort to cover-up, distance, and watch those running for cover and threatening.

Update: Speculation on this case continues. The Bangkok Post tells us that “Probes have been launched to determine whether any authorities abused their power to help a police corporal, accused of abusing her maid, join the police force and land other state jobs.” This seems a rather startling statement as it is already clear that strings were pulled. The question is by how many of the aged men attracted to the woman involved. When “probes” are launched, though, as Senator Thani can affirm based on the Red Bull “probe,” these “investigations” usually cover up more than they reveal and protect the rich and powerful. However, there might be some hope in this instance as the opposition parties have smelt all the rats.





Updated: Corrupt and powerful I

30 08 2022

Several stories that have been developing demonstrate that the regime is rotten to the core.

The Bangkok Post reports that Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), has raised questions regarding “the circumstances surrounding the case of an alleged maid-abusing police corporal.”

This is, of course, no ordinary corporal, but a well-connected one:

Mana pointed to the fact that not only had Pol Cpl Kornsasi Buayaem herself joined the police on the strength of a connection within force but she had then used her own influence to secure a military role for her former employee.

It had also been found that Pol Cpl Kornsasi had enjoyed the benefits afforded those who work full time at the agency without there being any record of her actually performing any duties.

He also asked how she could be recruited to “serve” in the southern region, where extra benefits are paid but had never been there.

Mana concluded: “The more I delve the more I have found distortion that desperately needs the reform of the police, the military, state administration, laws and the justice system itself…”. PPT has been writing of this for a decade.

Of course, the unspoken bit is that she’s connected to the family of regime bosses.

Mana “criticised groups of influential people who have become notorious for abusing their positions of authority to ensure that their members, including politicians, senators, police, soldiers and lobbyists, are taken care of.” It is the way the regime has operated from the very beginning.

Another Bangkok Post story is equally emblematic. After several years of claims, charges and slow legal processes, Deputy secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) Prayat Puangjumpa “has been sacked as over an asset concealment case against him.”

NACC chairman Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, a junta friend and appointee, sacked Prayat on 26 August:

The sacking came about three years after Mr Prayat was found by the anti-graft agency to have amassed vast wealth amounting to 658 million baht and failing to declare some of the assets.

According to the NACC probe, he omitted assets worth 227 million baht from his mandatory declaration to the NACC. The undeclared assets were found to be held by Mr Prayat’s wife, Thanipa.

These assets were divided six items, four of which were overseas.

The two in Thailand were a Kasikornbank bank account with 10,000 baht in it as well as 20,000 shares in the Palm Biz Corporation worth two million baht.

The four overseas assets were three bank accounts kept at Bangkok Bank’s London branch with a total of £237,959.46 (about 10 million baht) in them and a townhouse on Kensington High Street in London worth an estimated £4.5 million (168 million baht).

Back in August 2019, following a 9-month investigation, it was first reported that Prayat was crooked. At the time, Prayat said it was all a “misunderstanding and that his wife was holding the apartment for other people.” He didn’t say who.

At the time, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha had “vowed to stamp out corruption…”.

That report reminded its readers that Gen “Prawit Wongsuwan, dubbed the ‘Rolex General’, came under fire for a luxury watch collection worth an estimated $1.2 million…. The NACC dismissed the case last December, citing ‘no grounds’ for corruption as the watches were lent to Prawit by a wealthy businessman.” Yes, really

Another report from 2019 pointed to Prayat’s efforts to use regular excuses used by Thailand’s corrupt:

Prayat, reportedly, cited misunderstanding, stressing that he never intended to conceal his assets and that last year he re-submitted the asset declaration.

The apartment and the bank accounts in London belong to his wife….

Not held for others? These kind of people lie and expect that they can get away with it. It is the way the “system” works (for the rich).

The miracle is that the NACC “recommended Prayat should be indicted for assets concealment.”

Update: One of the social media rumors is that Pol Cpl Kornsasi is the mistress of one of the big P’s. It is probably more accurate to suggest that she’s the mistress of on of the Big P’s brothers, which would explain how a mere corporal in the police could get away with all manner of things.





Rotten to the core

25 11 2021

Rotten to the core

A Bangkok Post editorial expressed considerable concern over the disappearance of Sahachai Jiansermsin, known as Joe Pattani.

It states:

The disappearance of a tycoon at the centre of an oil smuggling and money laundering racket in the South just hours after his arrest early this month dealt a heavy blow to the Royal Thai Police (RTP). His high-profile escape drew public attention and tarnished the battered reputation of the justice system.

As of now, the whereabouts of … Joe Pattani…, who was nabbed on Nov 4 in the Huai Khwang area of Bangkok in accordance with an arrest warrant approved in February by the Songkhla Provincial Court, remains unknown. It’s believed he left the country after being released without charge.

The Nov 4 arrest was initially based on a money laundering charge related to a 2012 oil smuggling case in which police seized more than 2,000 litres of oil and 48 million baht of cash in Songkhla. A police investigation showed his firm also sold more than 400 million litres of oil. He was initially charged with oil smuggling and money laundering. However, prosecutors early this month did not indict him….

How can it be that such a significant arrest could just slip away? Well, this is a “justice” system where the rich by the “justice” they want.

Surprisingly, the matter had become a cold case. Police recently admitted the Pattani court warrant had never been recorded in the system, which technically prompted Sahachai’s release from the arms of the law. The RTP has ordered a probe into police processes in Pattani while the officer who “forgot” to file the warrant in the system has been transferred pending investigation results.

As in so many other cases where the rich and influential can just melt away, there corrupt officials involved:

Yet it’s hard to believe his presumed escape was just an innocent mistake by the police. Sahachai is an influential tycoon. A police investigation of his phone records shows he was in contact with high-ranking officers and some politicians.

The Department of Special Investigation, in collaboration with the Revenue Department and Isoc, had discovered a list of state officials in several agencies, including officers in the 9th police region, who received kickbacks from him. The payments were said to have been made to bank accounts held by the wives of those officials.

Naturally enough, the Post recalls that other case where the rich and influential walk away, bend rules, pay off officials and others, and continue to live well:

Such a blatant case reminds one of the mishandling of the infamous hit-and-run saga involving the Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya by police and public prosecutors.

The Post focuses on the police, and it is true that the cops have been hopelessly corrupt for decades. Yet, corruption now runs deep through this regime. So many cases have been brushed aside. And, the leadership of the police has, since the 2014 coup, has been purged and every leader of the police has been chosen for loyalty to the regime. The police boss is even given a free seat in the senate. So, we’d say the focus should be on the regime. It has allowed corruption as a means to reward police and to ensure its political loyalty.

And, just as an aside, there’s much that the regime is doing to promote further corruption. Think of the fate of Hualampong station. Watch the money flow for a prime piece of central Bangkok real estate. And who has been getting huge contracts in the eastern seaboard developments? Who benefits from a telecoms merger? Watch the money flow.

No transparency means corruption is growing and infecting all parts of the regime and the state apparatus. It is rotten to the core.





Connections?

6 11 2021

In an AP story, it was reported that police in Thailand had arrested “the head of a company suspected of cheating overseas buyers of millions of dollars they paid for undelivered medical rubber gloves during the coronavirus pandemic.”

This followed a US company, Rock Fintek, filing a complaint that a Bangkok-based company, Sufficiency Economy City “failed to deliver 2 million boxes of nitrile gloves worth $15.5 million for which it had paid a 40% deposit.” Other complaints were lodged from overseas companies.

Kampee. Clipped from the Bangkok Post

Sufficiency Economy City Co., marketed gloves branded SkyMed. The arrest was of the Sufficiency Economy City’s CEO Kampee Kampeerayannon, a renowned, self-promoting, ultra-royalist. He is chairman of the Thai People Council for the Nation, Religion, King.

A day earlier, “a Thai employee of Paddy the Room Trading Co., Pipatpon Homjanya, was sentenced to four years in prison.”

Who on earth would trust a company called “Paddy in the Room”? But “Sufficiency Economy City” carries monarchist meaning.

Paddy in the Room “had exported millions of substandard and in some cases secondhand gloves to the United States…”. Its managing director, “Luk-fei Yang Yang, identified by police and corporate records as Chinese, left Thailand before prosecutors were able to formally charge him in court.”

Millions and millions of dollars are involved.

In a report at The Nation, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit was quick to claim that “the scandal of used medical gloves being exported to the US has not affected Thailand’s export sector.” Indeed, he claimed the “Thai export sector untouched by used gloves scandal…”.

Police went to Sufficiency Economy City Co. Ltd., and arrested Kampee, who carries a military rank. The charges were “fraud and presenting fake information online…”.

From SkyMed website

Meanwhile, Skymed had sued Paddy the Room for damages and sought to distance itself from Paddy, with a hasty disclaimer (see right).

The ultra-royalist and ultra-nationalist displays his good work at the SkyMed website. As a royalist with military training, the ridiculous Kampee knows that the way out of problems (in Thailand) is to make stuff up. He gave a bizarre interview to CNN:

On Wednesday in a lengthy on-camera interview with CNN, SkyMed’s CEO Kampee Kampeerayannon denied his company was part of any repackaging operation occurring in the warehouse when it was raided.

“The owner of the warehouse, they just wanted to repack our brand and export it,” he said.

Kampeerayannon said if any gloves are exported from Thailand under the SkyMed brand, it is “not under our permission,” he told CNN.

The CEO said Paddy the Room was “one of hundreds” of SkyMed brokers which had permission to sell and promote SkyMed gloves, though he says the relationship ended over a year ago.

From SkyMed website

Yet, SkyMed has other warnings, like this one (right) where the English and Thai are different.

As CNN reports, it is a mystery where SkyMed, “sources its gloves”:

… the company has an import license to bring in medical gloves made in Vietnam, but records show SkyMed has never imported medical gloves to Thailand, nor does the company manufacture its own gloves….

Kampee … acknowledged to CNN that SkyMed does not have its own factory and does not have a license to produce medical gloves in Thailand.

After giving CNN contradictory answers about the number of glove suppliers it has in Thailand, he ultimately said there was just one.

Kampeerayannon claimed SkyMed has filled orders for one hundred million boxes of gloves but would not say who had purchased them.

He told CNN that US musician Nikki Lund had helped finance an order for 144 billion boxes of SkyMed gloves — a claim that Lund emphatically denied to CNN as “not possible and ridiculous.”

If nothing else, this case suggests that this is another dubious character seeking to profit through royalist allusions, illusions, and claims. Kampee has had many recent self-promoting advertorials at the Bangkok Post. Recent propaganda is here and here.

While all this royalist, nationalist, Buddhist propaganda was belched out, there were warnings of problems from 2020 (see right).

The Skymed website promotes falsehoods:

Our research team has pioneered the latest technology gloves.

Whether its medical or any other miscellenous work, our gloves can be used efficiently

TRUSTWORTHINESS IS WHAT WE FOCUSED

” We are enthusiastic to always provide our customer with the highest quality product.

Assurance of the best product is therefore key “

The obvious questions are: was this royalist associated with the regime? Was he associated with royals? If not, how could it so brazenly advertise itself as thoroughly royal? And, of course, there’s the question of who benefited from the millions gained through fraud? Is anyone following the money trail?





Old guard is the new guard

4 11 2021

Earlier this month, along with North Korea and Indonesia, Thailand’s National Anti-Doping Organization was declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) meaning it was “ineligible to be awarded the right to host regional, continental or world championships during the suspension.” In addition, no representative from Thailand could “sit as members of the boards on committees …[the country was] reinstated or for a period of one year, whichever is longer.”

Importantly, the ban also means that athletes from Thailand can only compete in regional, continental and world championships without their national flags.

WADA said “Thailand’s non-compliance stems from a failure to fully implement the 2021 Anti-Doping Code.”

Thailand’s peak body, the Sports Authority of Thailand, rushed to cover its exposed posterior. As far as we can tell, no one took responsibility for this failure.

The Sports Authority of Thailand is a state enterprise under the Ministry of Tourism and Sport and, like many state bodies, has long been something of a sinecure for military types, senior bureaucrats and their cronies. It provides meeting fees and lots of travel and other freebies.

Gen Prawit Wongsuwan is the deputy prime minister responsible for the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) and sits on its board. He’s also president of the Thailand Swimming Association, although we are unsure that he floats in water even if his power means he floats above all manner of troubles.

Of course, such higher ups can never be held responsible for major cock-ups like this one with WADA.

Indeed, under the military-backed regime dumb-asses are rewarded. As the Bangkok Post recently reported, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan “was re-elected unopposed as president of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand (NOCT)…”. The aged Prawit “will be in office for a second term which ends after the 2024 Olympics in Paris.”

At the same meeting, other near-dead and equally useless tools were rewarded for loyalty, with “secretary-general Charouck Arirachakaran, 89, and former president Gen Yutthasak Sasiprabha … appointed as honorary presidents for life.”

Nepotism is never far away when Gen Prawit is waddling about, and “Gen Wit Devahastin na Ayudhya, Prawit’s close aide, succeeds Maj Gen Charouck as secretary-general.” Gen Wit is also chairman of Prawit’s Palang Pracharat Party’s strategic committee.

Like all elections, the NOCT “election” of Gen Prawit and 24 other people to the NOCT executive was rigged: “Eligible voters unanimously agreed to their nominations without casting ballots. The 25 elected executive members then selected Prawit as the NOCT president.”

Other executive members included the fabulously wealthy former police boss Pol. Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang – accused in several corruption cases – and well-connected billionaire Harald Link.

In no are of administration is a “new guard” permitted. It is all the old guys grabbing all they can get.





Corrupt+corrupt=very corrupt

29 10 2021

Officially declared non-corrupt by the hopelessly biased regime poodle known as the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has again worked to maintain the status of convicted heroin trafficker, former murder suspect, and former deputy minister Thammanat Prompao.

He does this because Thammanat is his “boy” and because Thammanat is critical for electioneering in the north and northeast. Gen Prawit knows that without Thammanat , the Palang Pracharath Party may lose an election, even if held in the usual unfair manner. So the crooked Thammanat gets another free political pass.

Last month, Thammanat and Narumon Pinyosinwat were sacked from cabinet by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha for working against him as premier. But due to Gen Prawit’s support he stayed on as secretary-general of Palang Pracharath. That was appropriate as it meant a corruption maintained its hold over a corrupt party.

On Thursday, following a crisis party meeting, Gen Prawit announced “that no change was made to the executive team.” That is, the heroin smuggler kept his position.

Intense internal conflict “was resolved at a meeting on Wednesday between the party leader, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, and the party’s MPs…”. It seems Gen Prawit threratened to resign if Thammanat was not kept on. As the Bangkok Post explained: “Gen Prawit Wongsuwon has intervened as leader of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to resolve an internal conflict involving controversial figure Capt Thamanat Prompow by ensuring he stays on as its secretary-general.”

It now remains to be seen how Thammanat and his faction of cronies will respond. He may be willing to bring down the regime to get his snout ever deeper into the public trough.





Never ending “investigation”

19 10 2021

Impunity and cover-ups sometimes become even more farcical than usual when there are multiple, sometimes competing, “investigations.” This is particularly the case when powerful interests are involved and various “investigations” drag on for years and years.

The Red Bull scion murder of a policeman is one such case as officials give the impression that they have been bought and sold several times over the years.

An AFP photo clipped from ChannelNews Asia

The Bangkok Post reports that yet another committee has been formed to “investigate.” A “seven-member committee has been set up to conduct a serious disciplinary probe against former deputy attorney general Nate Naksuk over his decision to drop the charges against Red Bull scion Vorayuth ‘Boss’ Yoovidhya in the infamous 2012 hit-and-run case.”

Pachara Yutidhammadamrong, chairman of the Public Prosecutors Commission (PCC), said “expressed confidence in the committee members, saying the panel has full authority and independence in doing its task.”

Such has been said of several committees. This new “panel is expected to wrap up the investigation in 60 days, but it can extend the deadline twice, but not exceeding 180 days in total, if it needs more time…”.

This is also likely to involve yet another “investigation” of how prosecutors managed to change “the reported speed of the car driven by Mr Vorayuth. It is believed that the greatly reduced speed estimate was an important factor in the decision by prosecutors to drop the charges against Mr Vorayuth.”

Seldom do we hear of any “investigation” of the motivations involved in diddling the evidence and allowing Boss to go free. That might explain something about how bent the whole justice system is.





Slithering through money and corruption

1 10 2021

PPT has had several posts over almost a decade regarding the unexplained wealth of former national police chief Pol Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang. Thinking about this great wealth and his tenure, it is little surprise that he’s now caught up in the long cover-up of Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya’s crime.

Along with Vorayuth’s lawyer,Thanit Buakhiew, The Nation reports that Gen Somyos “will be investigated by a Royal Thai Police special committee for their alleged involvement in altering the actual car speed at which Vorayuth was driving in the 2012 hit-and-run case that killed a motorcycle police officer.”

Gen Somyos, who has never been shy in flaunting his wealth and his connections, has prospered and his wealth has grown over the years and despite several “investigations” that have never been reported as finished or found little wrong with a junta ally being corrupt.

This latest “investigation” after the “Royal Thai Police … appointed a special committee to investigate the case…”:

Police Internal Affairs chief Pol General Wisanu Prasatthong-Osot, who chaired the committee, said on Wednesday that Pol Colonel Thanasit Daengjan, the investigation officer in Vorayuth’s case, had presented an audio clip indicating that Somyos and Thanit had allegedly told him to change the speed of Vorayuth’s car from 177 km per hour to just 76 km per hour.

“The reported reduction in car speed was the reason why the public prosecutor decided to drop the charge of reckless driving against Vorayuth,” Wisanu said.

As the Bangkok Post recalls:

A speeding charge against him [Vorayuth] was dropped after its one-year statute of limitations expired in 2013. A second charge — failing to stop to help a crash victim — expired on Sept 3, 2017. His drug and reckless driving charges remain active until Sept 3 next year and 2027, respectively.

The Office of the Attorney General initially dropped the last charge but later decided to reinstate it after a public outcry.

It may be that Gen Somyos slithers out of another “investigation,” but it is worthwhile considering the obvious: Why would the country’s top cop intervene in such a manner? Look at the photo above. Look at the record. Think of the way the rich “enjoy” the so-called justice system.








%d bloggers like this: