Further updated: Mad, mad, monarchism III

2 09 2022

For those wanting an update on the mad royalist effort to prevent serious academic study of the monarchy in Thailand, Prachatai has it.

The story there opens with this:

Chaiyan

After it was disclosed that an investigation report into allegations that historian Nattapol Chaiching falsified information in his PhD thesis may itself contain falsehoods, political scientist Kullada Kesboonchoo Mead has published an open letter to the Chulalongkorn University Council, calling on it to reject the report.

Much of the royalist fervor can be attributed to Chaiyan Chaiyaporn, of the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, who has proclaimed himself a defender of everything royal. In claiming “errors” in Nattapol’s work (since corrected), Chaiyan has himself made errors. In the mad world of royalists, however, his error is an “honest mistake” by a “good person.”

Update 1: PPT has yet to obtain a copy of the Bangkok Post article published on 18 December 1950, which the Post stated it had reproduced. Any reader have a copy they can send us?

Update 2: While on the topic of academic research and monarchism, we noticed that Pavin Chachavalpongpun’s recent article “On His Majesty’s Service: Why is the Thai Foreign Ministry Royalist?” is available for free download.





Empty frame lese majeste

15 07 2022

Clipped from Prachatai. Photo attributed to Ginger cat

According to Prachatai and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, Weha Saenchonchanasuek, 37, has been charged under Article 112.

Weha was charged “after he posted about a court verdict in March that sentenced a man named Narin to 3 years in jail for placing a sticker on a public portrait of King Vajiralongkorn. The court said Narin’s act amounted to showing disrespect to the monarch, since the sticker depicted the logo of a Facebook group known for satirizing the Royal Family.”

Weha “visited the police’s cybercrime division on Monday to acknowledge and contest the charge, according to a report released by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.”

This is reportedly Weha’s third lese majeste charge.

The complaint was reported to have been “lodged to the police by an online group of hardline monarchy supporters.”

Weha was released after questioning without having to post bail.

He had previously been “imprisoned for nearly 100 days in a pretrial detention on previous charges of lèse majesté earlier this year, before the court granted him bail release in June.”

In his online post, “Weha reportedly wrote sarcastic remarks about the verdict, arguing that if royal pictures are considered sacred and inviolable, he would proceed to dispose of all of the portraits from public view, away from any further sticker-posting degradation.” He also “posted a photo of himself standing next to the empty frame of a King Vajiralongkorn portrait at an undisclosed location.” I t is said that it is this post that has led to the charge.





More 112 charges urged I

8 12 2021

It is usually mad monarchists who urge the authorities to use Article 112 more aggressively. Now, however, it is national police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk. As a junta loyalist, we assume he fits the mad monarchist category.

The Bangkok Post reports that Pol Gen Suwat has urged “[p]olice superintendents in Bangkok … to pay more attention to and improve their understanding of law enforcement in security cases involving Section 112 and 116 of the Criminal Code…”.

He explained that this would be necessary to “to deal with political protests…”.

The national police chief was lecturing 143 police superintendents of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.” Speaking of a task that always involves hundreds, even thousands, of police every time a pampered, expensive royal ventures out, he “explained” that “[e]nsuring security for a royal motorcade is not just a tradition but protecting national security…”.

For several years the regime has made “protecting” the monarchy is a matter of “national security.” It’s buffalo manure, but the mad monarchists in and around the regime seem to believe it.





Censorship unites mad monarchists and ultra-nationalists

28 11 2021

PPT has mentioned several times that we were sure that self-censorship and regime censorship was increasing simply because so many lese majeste cases were not making it into the mainstream media.

That perception has been confirmed in reports that the supplicant National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission “has warned the media against reporting on calls for monarchy reform…”.

NBTC commissioner Lt Gen Perapong Manakit reportedly “said during a meeting with representatives of various media outlets that they should not broadcast the 10-point demand for monarchy reform put forward by the activist group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration at a protest on 10 August 2020, after the Constitutional Court ruled on 10 November…”. Since then, the NBTC rules have circulated.

The general affirmed that reporting on calls monarchy reform “could be repeating the offense.” He stated that “reporters should not interview protest leaders, protesters, or those who agreed with the demands, but may report on the events that happen.” He warned that there should be no “long live broadcasts of protests to prevent the re-broadcast of speeches made during protests and calls for people to join the movement.”

The NBTC has also told the media that they should “avoid inviting guests for talk show interviews about the demands, especially inviting representatives of both sides in to give their opinion on air.”

These kinds of censorship and threats to reporters and media outlets egg on ultra-royalists and ultra-nationalists. Not that long ago, the Bangkok Post reported that Sonthiya Sawasdee, a former adviser to the House committee on law, justice and human rights has made a police complaint “against Miss Universe Thailand Anchilee Scott-Kemmis for standing on what looks like a Thai flag in a picture featured on the pageant organiser’s website.”

Sonthiya has “accused Anchilee of breaching the 1979 Flag Act and the PM’s Office announcement banning the use of national flags for commercial purposes.”

The picture “was released online in a promotional campaign before Anchilee competes in the 70th Miss Universe pageant in Israel on Dec 12.”

Photo from Thai Enquirer

Sonthiya wants to stop Anchilee from setting “a bad example for young people, as has a large following on social media.” She’s seen as too close to reformists and democracy activists.

Thai PBS added that Anchilee was “carrying a Thai flag pole on her shoulder and standing on a Thai flag motif carpet.” The outlet seems as dull as the rightists attacking her, confusing a constructed image as including a “carpet.” But, we are talking about stupid nationalism/royalism. Many of them “took her standing on the Thai flag carpet, particularly on the blue bar, which signifies the monarchy, … and pointed out that she was showing aggression toward the revered institution.”

From a Facebook post

Clearly, fake news, but the regime’s fake news is okay. For example, royal news is often faked. Most recently, the Bangkok Post announced that a “research team led by … Princess Chulabhorn … has demonstrated two methods for synthesising molnupiravir for emergency use on Covid-19 patients…”. Given her longstanding and debilitating illnesses, we doubt she leads anything. This is simply royal posterior polishing as established in the previous reign.

While on Chulabhorn, several years ago, when she supported anti-democrats then calling for a coup, she used the Thai flag on a dog’s foot.

And, we can only wonder about all of those shoes sold with the Thai flag emblazoned on them.

In other words, the usual double standards of “good” people versus “bad” people is at work. The “good”can do what they like and will be praised even when they do nothing. Critics, especially those wanting a democratic Thailand, are censored. The media is threatened – censor the other side or else!

 





A royalist ode

21 11 2021

According to Royal World Thailand, King Vajiralongkorn, his queen and his favorite consort have been briefly back in Thailand before returning to Switzerland and Germany. In Thailand:

… King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida of Thailand, with … Princess Bajrakitiyabha, … Princess Rajsarini Siribajra​ and Princess Sirivannavari, along with the Royal Noble Consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani presided over the ceremony of changing the seasonal attire for the Emerald Buddha into winter attire. The tradition of changing the robes seasonally; Rainy, Winter, and Summer, held at the Temple of Emerald Buddha….

There is quite a lot to think about in this event. First, why did he and his huge entourage decamp to Europe just a little more than a week ago, to return for just day? Was he trying to be out of the country when the Constitutional Court was promoting absolutism? Or is he just being his usual erratic and dull self? Second, why is the royal family unmasked, especially when they have been in Germany, where the virus is raging. Third, who pays for these expensive jaunts to and from Europe? Finally, why do royalists continue to turn out and support a king who has made it clear he’d rather not be in Thailand? The latter question sent us to poets, with apologies to Thomas Ford:

There is a king erratic and (un)kind,

Was never a face so pleased my mind;

I did but see him passing by. And yet I’ll love him till I die. His gesture, motion, and his grimaces,

His lack of wit, but his voice my heart beguiles,

Beguiles my heart, I know not why,

Yet, I will love him till I die.





Mad, mad, monarchism II

13 11 2021

Priyanandana is seeking compensation of 50 million baht for the “damage” done to the dead relative, Prince Rangsit:

She initially asked the Court for a temporary injunction stopping the circulation of both books, but later withdrew her request, noting that there was no point to a temporary injunction as the books have been widely circulated. She is also suing Nattapol’s PhD thesis supervisor, former Faculty of Political Science lecturer Kullada Kesboonchoo Mead; Chaithawat Tulathon, editor for “Dream the Impossible Dream”; Anchalee Maneeroj, editor for “The Junta, the Lords, and the Eagle”; Same Sky Books, the publisher of both volumes; and Same Sky Books editor-in-chief Thanapol Eawsakul.

Apart from the usual royalist nonsense, why Prince Rangsit? Essentially because the Prince is seen as one of the driving forces for the political and economic restoration of the palace and for steering it through the difficult times after the abdication and then the death of Ananda Mahidol and the rise of Bhumibol.

Rangsit spend several years in detention, accused of treason and of plotting a coup in 1938, but was released at the end of WW2. He became regent in 1946 and was quick to support royalists and military men opposed to the People’s Party. Even if the original claim – that Rangsit interfered with cabinet – is not supported by the Bangkok Post story in 1950, it is clear in several accounts that Rangsit repeatedly interfered, seeking advantages for the palace and for royalists.





Further updated: Absurd court reaffirms its royalist credentials

11 11 2021

Section 49 of the junta’s constitution states:

No person shall exercise the rights or liberties to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State.

Any person who has knowledge of an act under paragraph one shall have the right to petition to the Attorney-General to request the Constitutional Court for ordering
the cessation of such act.

In the case where the Attorney-General orders a refusal to proceed as petitioned or fails to proceed within fifteen days as from the date of receiving the petition, the person making the petition may submit the petition directly to the Constitutional Court.

The action under this section shall not prejudice the criminal prosecution against the person committing an act under paragraph one.

From Ji Ungpakorn’s blog

The Constitutional Court surprised no one yesterday with its absurd decision that those calling for reform of the monarchy were seeking to overthrow the political system and the monarchy. Its ruling, following the first paragraph above, was all the more bizarre given that many of the reforms were a call for the status quo ante of the previous reign and of the post-1932 regime.

The Court ruled on a petition from Natthaporn Toprayoon, a former advisor to the ombudsman, who prompted the court to rule on whether “public statements, made by leaders of anti-establishment groups concerning the monarchy at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus on August 10th last year, amount to an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.”

Clipped from Prachatai

Even among the deranged among royalists, Natthaporn stands out as quite mad. His earlier efforts with the Constitutional Court in 2019 involved a bizarre claim that the Future Forward Party was attempting to overthrow the same “democratic regime with the king as the head of state” under the very same Section 49. The lame lawyer claimed, among many odd things, that party members were “anti-monarchy and anti-religion, is that they are part of the Illuminati.” In other words, the FFP was a part of a (fictitious) global anti-monarchist conspiracy. Many mad monarchists believed this rubbish. That action failed, so he took the same nonsense to the Election Commission, claiming an “alleged violation of the Political Party Act.”

This time, the Constitutional Court, by majority (8-1) decision:

ruled that the calls for monarchy reform and monarchy-related activities organized by Anon Nampa, Panussaya Sitthijirawattanakul, Panupong Jadnok and associated organizations were, are and will be abuse of constitutional rights and liberties as they are intended to ‘overthrow’ the democratic form of government with the King as Head of State.

Remarkably, the court determined “hidden” intentions and “inferred” meanings:

The Court ruled that Anon’s speech and Panussaya’s statement at the 10 August 2020 protest, and their participation in the protests afterward and other symbolic actions have the hidden intention of overthrowing the regime, which would cause public disorder and unrest in society….

The word ‘overthrow’ can be inferred from actions that cause a serious threat to the constitution and regime in a decisive and irreversible manner that completely obliterates them.

The court considered the demand for the repeal of Section 6 of the constitution “which guarantees the monarch’s authority, as Head of State, which no one can accuse or violate is an explicit act with an intent to annihilate the monarchy.”

Rather, the demand was:

Abolish Article 6 of the constitution, which dictates that no one can make legal complaints about the king. Add an article to give the parliament power to perform checks and balances on the king, similar to the Khana Rasadon’s constitution.

This is a call to reform and a return to a previous status quo. As an op-ed at Thai Enquirer states: “If you carefully listen, what they are asking for is the modernization of the royal institution so that it can continue to peacefully exist along with the development of a democratic system.”

And the court objected to the tone of speeches:

To demand such changes and make such attacks in public, by claiming that it is an exercise of rights and freedoms according to the Constitution, not only is bad conduct, with rude words spoken, but also violates the rights and freedoms of other people who think differently….

For good measure, the court trotted out the palace and military propaganda line on the role of the monarchy in Thailand’s history. Essentially they accused the reform movement of being offensive to (ruling class) Thai culture.

The court also ordered the three respondents and others to end their movement: “The three respondents, other organisations and networks must cease their actions…”.

The ruling carried no penalty for the three respondents but it potentially unleashes a cascade of royalist repression and cases for the royalist courts that, the regime and palace appear convinced will be the end of the monarchy reform movement.

It is worth noting that, like the hurried and politicized dissolution of several parties in the 2008 judicial coup, the court dispensed with witnesses. As Prachatai explains:

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) stated that, despite a request by lawyers for the three activists for them to be summoned for an inquiry along with several other witnesses to give them the opportunity to defend themselves, the ruling was made without examining witnesses and based only on the complaint itself, the objection to the complaint, and documents that the Court requested from the Office of the Attorney General, Khlong Luang Police Station, the Royal Thai Police, the National Security Office, the National Intelligence Agency, and Thammasat University.

The Court then ordered the inquiry concluded, claiming that it has enough evidence to issue a ruling.

TLHR also said that, in addition to the three activists themselves, they had requested that several academics be summoned as witnesses. They had planned to summon historians Nithi Eoseewong and Charnvit Kasetsiri to testify on Thai political history, and legal scholar Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang to argue that the activists’ actions do not qualify as using their rights and liberties to overthrow the democratic regime with the monarch as Head of State.

They also planned to summon writer Sulak Sivarak to speak about the role of the monarchy in Thai politics and President of the 1997 Constitution Drafting Assembly Uthai Pimchaichon to speak on the intention of Section 49 of the Thai Constitution, which is modelled after the same section in the 1997 Constitution.

None of the aforementioned witnesses were given a chance to testify.

On the ruling, Natthaporn gloated: “The ruling today is a starter, that peace will finally be returned to society…”. He claimed the ruling bans all activities that might be construed to threaten the monarchy. His next target is the Move Forward Party: “He said the court’s decision would lead to the Election Commission deciding whether to move for the disbandment of the Move Forward Party. Mr Natthaporn claims the party supported the protests.”

In an interview cited by Prachatai, academic lawyer and former FFP member Piyabutr Saengkanokkul saw three impacts from the ruling:

Firstly, the ruling’s broad interpretation of the law has closed the door for those who want to reform the monarchy.

Secondly, the ruling prohibits many acts, both those which have been done and those not done. This will allow those who oppose proposals for monarchy reform to flood the courts with petitions similar to the one today. Civil society organizations and political parties that rally for the amendment or abolition of the royal defamation law might be affected by this.

Thirdly, this order to gag people will not bring about reconciliation between those who think differently. It will exacerbate tensions between the old and the new generations who have different ideas about the monarchy.

“If you don’t want to enter the red zone, then don’t do it. Don’t speak. Don’t touch. Don’t do anything. Then, you will be in the safe zone. Your party won’t be disbanded. Your MPs can stay. Criminal charges won’t touch you. In public rallies, you mustn’t speak about this. Just talk about ousting Prayut. Don’t speak about these [monarchy] issues and you will be safe.”

Indeed, this decision will, despite the wording of Section 49, will be used to lock up protest leaders and it will provide justification for a regime purge of those it can now say are anti-monarchists.

Finally in this absurdist “legal” world of the country’s protectors of the status quo, we must go back to the Thai Enquirer and its comments:

Asking for the amendment of the lese-majeste law is not treasonous in any way. Overthrowing an elected government by a military coup like what General Prayut Chan-ocha and his friends did in 2014 was.

It was also unconstitutional and unlawful. But the courts have regularly sanctioned military coups. The op-ed lists other unlawful acts sanctioned by courts:

Jailing and persecuting elected parliamentarians….

Arresting, cracking down, violently using force against unarmed protesters….

Shutting down public debate, installing an unelected senate, using the judiciary to go after dissidents….

Abducting and murdering political activists….

The op-ed concludes:

The verdict was almost like the final nail in the coffin of space for fair discussions in our society. And it was perpetrated by the same court system that has done nothing for the last six years but carry out the junta’s whim and reinforce the junta’s rule.

Update 1: Usefully, Prachatai has provided a translation of the Constitutional Court’s decision. Read it in all its bizarre detail.

Update 2:The Constitutional Court has defended not hearing evidence, saying it was too late and that the investigation was complete. Interestingly, in its decision, the court does not refer to any evidence that was not from the complainant or an official security agency.





Mad 112 case

2 09 2021

Prachatai reports that an Article 112 complaint has been lodged against former royalist and anti-Thaksin Shinawatra campaigner Thanat Thanakitamnuay.

Longtime readers might remember him from this report. More recently, he has joined pro-democracy activists, apologized for his previous politics, and made speeches to anti-regime activists. He was injured in an event on 13 August, with his family saying “his right eye was hit by a ‘blunt cylindrical object’ – which … was [probably] a tear gas canister – tearing the cornea, rupturing the eyeball, and causing his retina to peel off.”

For his recent appearances at rallies, on 30 August 2021:

Nangnoi Atsawakittikorn from the Thailand Help Center for Cyberbullying Victims and Jakkapong Klinkaew from the Centre of the People for the Protection of Monarchy filed a royal defamation complaint [Prachatai means a lese majeste complaint] against Thanat at the Samranrat Police Station on behalf of the “People’s Network for the Protection of the Royal Institution”.

Just to remind readers, Article 112 states: “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” In 2013, however, the the royalist Supreme Court decided “that the law also applies to all previous monarchs…”.

The ultra-royalists have used this to bring some ludicrous allegations and charges, even involving, more than once, a dead royal tail-wagger, historical kings and members of the royal family not covered by the words used in the law.

Thanat. Clipped from Prachatai

In the complaint against Thanat, the ultra-royalists complain about him “wearing an outfit similar to one worn by the late King Rama IX.”

They complained that:

… Thanat was intentionally mocking the late King Rama IX by wearing a suit, an eyepatch and a camera to a protest on 22 August…. According to Nangnoi, Thanat’s costume and camera were props employed to ridicule a well-known photograph of King Rama IX.  The late King often wore a camera around his neck when travelling upcountry.

Of course, Thanat’s eye was covered because he had been injured in a previous rally (see above).

These mad monarchists, who have lodged many lese majeste complaints over the past year, added another complaint, asserting “that a speech Thanat gave on 25 August calling for Section 112 to be abolished reflects his intent to overthrow the monarchy.”

Again, the idea that calling for Article 112 to be abolished can be either lese majeste and/or sedition charges has been increasingly common.

In addition, as Prachatai points out:

This is not the first time that royalists have taken umbrage with the costumes of pro-democracy activists. Conservative netizens put up a storm of critical commentary after the 28 January 2021 posting of a picture featuring Chaiamorn ‘Ammy’ Kaewwiboonpan, a lead singer in the Bottom Blues Band, and actress Inthira Charoenpura which Chaiamorn dressed in an outfit similar to one worn by King Rama IX.

Mad monarchists get madder by the minute. Internationally, the country’s judicial system is a joke.





Ratbag fascists

21 05 2021

As the mainstream media seem to be ignoring lese majeste and other political repression while also self-censoring on anything to do with the monarchy, it is Prachatai that is providing a window on rabid monarchism that looks increasingly like ratbag fascism by both state royalists and citizen monarchists.

In one report we are reminded that the royalist state targets particular individuals and their families. In fact, there have been several cases where it targets mothers. This report states that the “mother of student activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul has received a police summons on a charge under the Emergency Decree, after she joined a protest demanding her daughter’s release.”

She was one of the “mothers of five detained activists at one of the ‘Stand Against Detention’ protests, standing next to cardboard cutouts of their children.” Their call was to “return the children to their mothers.” Now she has a summons declaring she “violated the Emergency Decree by organizing an unauthorised gathering of more than 20 people at risk of the spread of disease …[at a] protest in front of the Supreme Court on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on 28 April 2021 to demand the release of Panusaya and other activists who were detained at the time.”

This was just one of a number of “Stand Against Detention” protests in Bngkok and the provinces. So far she and just two others have been summoned by the bully-boys in brown acting for the greenish tinged fascist regime. The others are reportedly the activist Punsak Srithep, “a member of Resistant Citizen and whose son Samapan was killed during the the military crackdown on red shirt protesters in May 2010, … and another protester named Napatsorn Boonrey.”

The protesters were said to have maintained their “social distance” and it is said that “Resistant Citizen also required registration for each protest and only 20 participants were allowed.”

The second Prachatai report is of probably state-organized royalist vigilantes in Phetchabun Province who descended on a young vocational student’s home demanding and forcing her to “apologize for alleged royal defamation.”

The group claimed to be “government officials and people ‘with the duty of suppression and control regarding the institution of the monarchy’.” On 19 May, claiming “they were from the Department of Provincial Administration,” with no warrants, to “charge her with royal defamation.”

The vigilantes alleged that “the student had posted video clips about the monarchy that they claimed were inappropriate.”

They videoed the student being forced to prostate before a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn and apologize. And, the posted this on Facebook to humiliate her and warn others of the danger of thinking differently.

Under this regime, Thailand’s future remains bleak.





Further updated: Crooks, fraudsters, and palace

16 05 2021

The story of four high-profile suspects arrested in connection with a fraudulent investment ring estimated to have made off with at least 1 billion baht reminded us of an earlier hi-so fraud.

In the recent case, police detained “Lt Col Dr Amraporn Visetsuk, chairwoman of the Tiao Puea Chart (Travel for the Country) project, and three others, on charges of public fraud and collaborating in fraudulent public borrowing. All of them denied the charges.” The one who got away was “suspected ringleader Prasit Jeawkok, chairman of the Kuen Khun Pandin (Paying Back the Land) project…”.

The story gets more interesting:

Last year, Pannika Wanich, spokeswoman for the Progressive Movement, accused Mr Prasit of being behind the army’s now-discredited “information operation” (IO) and allowing the army to use the servers under his control for free.

Prasit himself has “boasted of his royalist credentials and unbuttoned his shirt to show a ‘Long Live the King’ tattoo on his chest. Even if he supported IO, he declared, it was a ‘good IO’.”

Prasit has been praised by the wealthy Yuenyong Opakul or Add Carabao who is also a mad monarchist, writing “the song ‘Prasit the Giver,’ praising his good deeds under the Kuen Khun Pandin project in July 2019.”

All of this is vaguely familiar to anyone old enough to remember the fantastic Mae Chamoy fraud case in the mid-1980s that saw Chamoy Thipyaso and seven others found guilty of corporate fraud and on 27 July 1989, sentenced her to 141,078 years in prison. She only served 8 years.

It was her connections with the military, and especially the Royal Thai Air Force and also with the Petroleum Authority of Thailand, saw her chit fund scheme go on for almost 20 years, providing huge returns to some at the top of the pyramid scheme.

As the linked report states:

Chamoy

Among her clients there were prominent members from the military and the Royal Household, which prompted calls for the Thai government to bail out the banks and chit funds. Discussions of an unknown nature were made with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, following which the chit fund was wound up and Thipyaso arrested. She was [d]etained secretly by the Air Force for a few days.

Thipyaso’s trial only commenced after the losses of the victims from the military and royal staff were recovered….

Paul Handley’s The King Never Smiles (pp. 308-9) has more on the scheme:

Chit funds were pyramid schemes that had blossomed over several years without intervention from the government, in part because many had strong government connections. One especially, the Mae (Mother) Chamoy Fund, was estimated at $300 million and involved large numbers of investors from the military and, it soon became apparent, the royal household, including probably Sirikit, Vajiralongkorn, Ubolrat, and Chulabhorn. With such prominent and politically significant people likely to lose massively in the Mae Chamoy collapse, [Gen] Arthit [Kamlang-ek] stepped in again. He threatened a coup if the government did not rescind the [recent baht] devaluation and bail out the banks and chit funds.

This time, King Bhumibol himself rescued [Gen] Prem [Tinsulanonda], without saying anything. Prem went to stay at the Phuphan Palace for nine days, and each day the media ran pictures of Prem with the king, queen, and crown prince. Making the message clear, when Prem returned to Bangkok he was escorted by Prince Vajiralongkorn and Chulabhorn’s consort Captain Virayuth. When Arthit then flew to the Phuphan Palace, Prem turned around and went back. What was said in their discussions with the king was not made public, but the episode ended with Prem still in power and Arthit unpunished for his series of mutinous acts. The devaluation stood and the Mae Chamoy Fund was shut down, but only after more backhall dealings managed by Prem. Fund manager Chamoy was arrested and held in secret by the air force until, it is believed, the losses of palace and military personnel and other high officials were recovered. Only afterward was she tried and sent to prison. Her hearing was held in camera and the records were sealed, presumably to protect the palace. Meanwhile thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of people who didn’t have special protectors lost their savings.

Are we completely mad to wonder if there aren’t some coincidences of news now and news then?

Update 1: Adding to the mystery and protection of fraudsters, it is reported that Prasit Jeawkok has done a deal with police to surrender to them on 17 May. It is common for influential people to arrange this kind of deal and arrive to meet police with influential figures and lawyers. At the same time, we are told that “the Second Army pledged the suspect, Lt Col Amaraphon, who is attached with the Second Army’s Support Command, will face punishment if she is found guilty.” That’s a familiar refrain, seldom ever carried out.

Update 2: Thai Enquirer has two op-eds on this case, here and here. Is anyone surprised that Lt Col Amaraphon already has bail? Scams like this produce huge cash flows for big shots.








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