Further updated: Election commissioners missing

14 04 2023

Election commissioners are a joke. They are appointed by the regime and not expected to do much except support the regime.

Hence, as the 2023 election approaches, all six election commissioners have left Thailand on “study tours.”

Officials say “that during an election campaign they are urgently needed at home to do their job.” The officials mean the commissioners should work at their job. The commissioners clearly object as “work” is not in their terms of reference.

The six commissioners couldn’t care less about “work.” They care more about sucking the state teat dry and escaping work in Africa, Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland, the US, New Zealand and Australia.

The EC is not serious and neither are its corrupt commissioners.

Update 1: Demonstrating the autocrat’s view that the public is composed of idiots or compliant dolts, the EC has responded to criticism. According to a Thai PBS report, the “EC’s Office said that the visit is in line with the plan to follow up on the preparations and management of elections being held in other countries.” This seems to mean absentee voting by Thais overseas for the Bangkok Post adds that the information the gallivanting commissioners gain “will be useful for adjusting the process or amending any regulations in the future…”.

And, of course, the Office of EC “consulted with the Foreign Ministry and received a written invitation from the Thai embassy or consulate in each respective country to make the official visit.” That must make it all above board… or maybe not.

But it gets worse, with the EC Office claiming that the “trips were set for between April 4 and April 24 so as not to overlap with their working days.” That’s three weeks on non-working days. The commissioners obviously get it very easy. Presumably they get allowances and pay while traveling in their non-working days.

And worse still, “each commissioner is accompanied by 4-5 officials.” So that’s 30-36 traveling at taxpayer expense. That all sounds like a snouts in the trough exercise to us.

Update 2:The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has galloped to the defense of the tourist election commissioners. The Nation reports that “officials from Election Commission (EC) and Foreign Ministry have gone overseas to ensure the mistakes made during the 2019 election are not repeated…”. Believe them? We might, but surely it would be better if the Ministry and the EC could arrange a congruent story between them.

Slapping wrists

23 02 2023

Day after day we see how the “system” works for the “good” people. The “good” people are, in fact, the corrupt ruling class and the “system” allocates impunity, favors, and crooked justice to ensure that class continues to rule.

A recent example is a Thai PBS reports that refers to the case of former deputy secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission Prayad Puangchampa who was corrupt.

Prayad was dismissed from his post in August 2022 for having “658 million baht in wealth, of which 227 million baht was held in his wife’s name, which he did not declare.”

Pretty basic corruption for a member of the NACC.

The court found “that Prayad’s wife, Thanipa, owns a townhouse in London and had a bank account there by the time that her husband declared his assets and liabilities before assuming the office, as legally required.”

One could guess as to why the assets were concealed. No doubt Prayad thought he was untouchable as an ally of the regime.

The court seemed to think that 227 million baht was a trifling matter for it only sentenced him to four months in jail and a measly 10,000 baht fine. It also suspended the sentence for for 12 months.

That essentially means he got away with the crime. Impunity reigns.

The defamation weapon

20 02 2023

Junta-appointed Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun is back in the news, thanks to Move Forward MP Rangsiman Rome.

Upakit is the senator who was briefly wanted for arrest in connection with an alleged drug trafficking and money laundering ring, until the warrant was quickly made to disappear.

During last week’s censure debate Rangsiman tore shreds from the unelected senator’s claims and denials while drawing the links between Upakit and the regime that handed him his position and Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party. He also picked up on Upakit’s business links to Tun Min Latt, a Myanmar tycoon with close ties to coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hliang.

In the manner of crooks, thieves, and corrupt politicians, Upakit’s response was to sue Rangsiman for defamation. Upakit’s lawyer has “filed a criminal defamation lawsuit against Rangsiman over the content of the speech, as well as a civil lawsuit demanding 100 million baht in damages.”

Upakit wants Rangsiman to shut up, not least because the latter came up with damning evidence of Upakit’s corruption., dark influence, and connections. Clearly, there’s more to come out, so Upakit is desperate.

Of course, Gen Prayuth’s party brazenly claims to be as clean as a whistle and the swill in the senate are uninterested:

Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, President of the Senate, said that the Senate currently has no plan to launch an investigation of Upakit, claiming that they do not have the information and no complaint has been filed.

Pornpetch also said that since Upakit filed a lawsuit against Rangsiman, the Senate cannot get involved.

Of course it can’t. But, then again, it wouldn’t anyway as its task is to run interference for its bosses and it corrupt members.

The smuggler is back

10 02 2023

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

Convicted heroin smuggler Thammanat Prompao is back with the main government party.

The former Palang Pracharath Party Secretary-General, who left the party when in dispute with Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, is “expected to be responsible for overseeing the party’s election campaign in the northern provinces, after he re-joined the party, along with 11 MPs from the Thai Economic Party [Setthakij Thai Party].”

The “former” criminal is closely tied to Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and in a new government, Thammanat would expect a ministerial post.

Expect such wheeling and dealing to deepen as the election approaches, and watch the dirty money flow.

Former top cop and corruption

6 02 2023

It was just a few days ago that we mentioned former police chief Somyos Pumpanmuang as a cop not afraid to display his huge wealth that came from dubious sources.

Interestingly, it is reported in the Bangkok Post that “Sutthisan police have raided one of two unregistered massage parlours in the Ratchadaphisek area linked to Kampol Wirathepsuporn, a suspect who fled the country after his massage parlour was shut down over a human trafficking case…. Mr Kampol was the owner of Victoria Secret massage parlour in Bangkok, which was closed in 2018.”

Back then, a significant element of the tale was was the link to top cops. Indeed, it was junta-appointed police chief Gen  Somyos Pumpanmuang who was close to Kampol.

Under pressure at the time, In the moneySomyos revealed that he had borrowed a huge sum of money from Kampol. Gen Somyos “explained” that he and the massage parlor owner were “friends and of course friends do help each other. I was in trouble and asked him for help several times.” One of those bits of “help” was a 300 million baht “loan” from the flesh trader.

Clearly the “help” was useful, for when he retired as Thailand’s top cop, he was one of the country’s wealthiest policemen.  He reported assets of 375 million baht back in 2014 when he joined one of the junta’s sham legislatures.

So when it is again Chuvit Kamolvisit who reveals details and he “wonders how Mr Kampol can manage the massage parlours while being on the run,” the answer seems pretty obvious.

That corruption also accounts for the fact that the very wealthy seem easily able to flee but stay active.


Cloth-eared bints

4 11 2022

Thailand’s top cops have long been recognized as a bunch of cloth-eared bints. They don’t listen and don’t hear and they make stuff up that no half sane person could believe. They appear as the bluntest chisels in a bag of tools but are “trained” to be such dunces by the impunity that they enjoy. They have a view that they can get away with anything.

In the Bangkok Post, national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas has “insisted there are no gambling dens in the capital.”

This ridiculous claim was made “in response to a statement by a group of local gamblers who claimed there are more than 100 such dens that operate in secret under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) throughout the city.” They named places and locations.

Claiming to have “been physically abused and extorted out of more than 5 million baht … [t]hey filed a complaint with the police but when officers raided the site, they reportedly found no evidence of gambling.”

Perhaps because the police were running it or had a hand in running it.

But Pol Gen Damrongsak. insisted that: “Since being appointed as the new police chief on Oct 1, I haven’t received any reports about gambling dens…”.

But then he urged “investigation.” Presumably the complainants will end up being charged.

The Watchman’s unbelievable stories

24 10 2022

A few days ago, Thai Enquirer had a story about Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and the luxury watches he insisted he borrowed from a close but dead friend. The hopeless National Anti-Corruption Commission believed him. Well, maybe they didn’t believe him, but the commissioners decided to let him off in an investigation of assets he failed to declare.

Now, former Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula, who is the executor of the will of the Prawit’s dead friend, Pattawat Suksriwong, says no luxury watches were listed in his will.

Unbelievably, Gen Prawit had another story. He asked: “How would he [Pridiyathorn] know?” He answered for Pridiyathorn: “The watches are Pattawat’s heritage, but they were not on the inheritance list because there were no important documents for them…”. How would Gen Prawit know?

He babbled on: “They are an inheritance for his children …[but] the executor of the will does not need to know everything…”. Now that’s an “interesting” observation. Or perhaps it is just a reflection of how Thailand’s wealthy and powerful ignore laws.

Move Forward Party MP Teerajchai Phunthumas has been calling for the NACC to reopen the case. We wonder if this statement by Pridiyathorn may assist in this? Probably not as the NACC is so supine when it comes to powerful military men.

Even so, “Teerajchai, in his capacity as spokesman for parliament committee on corruption and misconduct prevention and suppression, said … the committee had summoned MR Pridiyathorn, in his capacity as the executor of Pattawat’s will, for information.” Apparently, he confirmed “that there was no luxury watch on Pattawat’s list of inheritance…”.

No comment so far from the NACC.

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.

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