Ying Kai gets 15 years on lese majeste

7 06 2017

It has been some time since much has been heard about the so-called Ying Kai case. That case continues while spinning off four other lese majeste cases. Last November we provided a summary.

The last we heard of Monta (or Montra) Yokrattanakan’s case was when she appeared in court on 29 September 2016 on a lese majeste charge and her court date was set for 6 June 2017.

The Bangkok Post now reports that the Criminal Court on 6 June 2017 “sentenced Monta Yokrattanakan aka Ying Kai to seven years and six months in jail for lese majeste in claiming to be a royally appointed khunying (lady) and have a close connection to the palace.” Prosecutors “told the court that from May 2012 to August 2013 Monta had claimed on three occasions to be khunying and knew people in high places.”

She had initially denied the lese majeste charges. However, when she appeared in court, like so many others with lese majeste charges, “Monta told the court that she changed her mind and wanted to plead guilty in the case, so the court gave its ruling.”

It sentenced her to 15 years jail. However, the “confession prompted the court to commute the jail term for her three lese majeste offences … to seven years and six months.”

Monta was also charged with human trafficking. It is unclear what has happened to those charges.

This is just one of dozens of cases where lese majeste charges have been brought against persons accused of “misusing” royal connections. The most spectacular set of cases involved the jailing of the family of King – then Prince – Vajiralongkorn’s former wife Srirasmi in late 2014.

Updated: Death, racist royalism, lese majeste and populism

21 11 2016

Our headline is not a summary of the past few years of Thailand’s turbulent politics. It is a summary of today’s politics. All from the Bangkok Post, and mostly from its headline stories.

The puppet Constitution Drafting Committee has come up with a recommendation that will warm the hearts of all anti-democrats and feudalists. Puppet chairman of the puppet CDC “Meechai Ruchupan … wants to see the death penalty as the maximum punishment for politicians caught selling or buying political positions.”

As the Post points out, “Meechai is effectively stating that corruption for profit by a politician is worse than the serial murder of children…”. We imagine Meechai and his anti-democrat supporters will want gas chambers for managing this “problem.”

The brief story in the Post on “motivational speaker” Orapim Raksapol is related to Meechai’s maniacal proposal. Paid by the junta, Orapin went off to the northeast and essentially declared northeasterners less “loyal” to the monarchy than the junta’s anti-democrat constituency based mainly in Bangkok’s condos, townhouses and shophouses. She implied they lacked sufficient “gratitude” to the monarchy’s good works in the region. The junta is now defending her. Few anti-democrats trust the northeasterners and many have racist responses when confronted by people from the region and their politics.

After her elder sister was sentenced to 150 years in jail, it is now Ying Kai’s turn to face the courts. The Post reports that Montra Yokrattanakan has learned that the Criminal Court has “set June 6, 2017 to begin the examination of witnesses in a case against … Ying Kai …, accused of lese majeste under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.” Oddly, the court refused to accept her “revised confession” as a way to get the case to an end.

The final story at the Post is about another example of junta populism. Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong says the junta “plans to roll out electricity and water subsidies for low income families to mark the coming New Year…”. This is for people who earn less than 100,000 baht a year. It is part of a wider package that includes “free rides on public buses and trains.” Only some of these benefits will be extended beyond Bangkok.

Clearly the junta is in “election” campaign mode. That campaign is now riddled with populist policies and political double standards.

Update: The puppet CDC has backed down on the blood-curdling call for the mandatory death penalty for corrupt politicians. It has “agreed to include life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty.” So it seems the death penalty remains but is not mandatory. Puppet-in-chief Meechai “insisted the law is better having the death penalty.”

Lese majeste convictions in Ying Kai case

19 11 2016

For some months PPT has been following the so-called Ying Kai case, which came with accusations of lese majeste. That case continues while spinning off four other lese majeste cases.

Those four cases are reported in the Bangkok Post.

KamolthatThe first involves Kamonthat Thanathornkhositjira or Kim-eng Sae Tia, 62, a half-sister of Ying Kai or Monta [Montra] Yokrattanakan. With others, she was accused of criminal plots, fraud and lese majeste. Kamonthat was first detained on 26 August 2016. She was accused of fraud and falsifying documents, and with alleged links to lese majeste offenses, presumably those Ying Kai stands accused of. She is claimed to have invoked the so-called royal institution in a scam that allegedly swindled more than 3 million baht from victims. However, other, much larger figures, are also mentioned in some reports.

Sounding very similar to earlier cases of claimed lese majeste fraud, such as the Pongpat group and that associated with the now deceased Mor Yong, police also raided a Lat Phrao Soi 60 condominium and searched three luxury units for further evidence related to lese majeste offenses. The search reportedly found valuable items like antique porcelain, ivory tusks, swords, statues and amulets. Documents and some “valuable items” bearing royal emblems were collected by the police raid team.

The list of offenses grew and grew, with the alleged crimes taking place between 1 November 2010 and 16 March 2014. On 18 November 2016, Kamonthat was sentenced to a total of 150 years on 33 charges. Her jail term was reduced because of her confession. As the maximum jail term is 50 years, that’s what the Criminal Court gave her when declaring her “guilty of lese majeste, fraud, falsifying documents and invoking the royal institution.” These accusations include “making fake documents purported to be from the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary and conning people to contribute money for royal kathin ceremonies.”

[PPT is not aware of this last “crime” or that it was not covered under Article 112. We would welcome any advice on this from readers. We suggest using the comments facility here and we will not post the comment and will delete it.]

Kamonthat was sentenced along with and alleged accomplice Sak Siriyakhom, 50. Other alleged accomplices are Pol Lt Col. Ekkasit Thanathornkositjit, 68, and Taworn Puanprathum [sometimes Puangpratoom], 66, who have opted to fight the charges.

Sak received 144 years on 31 charges. The two were also ordered to repay “5.14 million baht to the damaged parties,” a trifling amount in anything associated with the royal house.

There is obviously much more going on in these cases than the press reports – for fear of Article 112 – and questions remain about whether this alleged fraud was, at one time, sanctioned by some royal figure and that these persons managed to alienate that figure, resulting in punishment. We just don’t know. Of course, the lese majeste law is much about limiting information that involves royals.

Ying Kai update

29 09 2016

The Bangkok Post reports that Ying Kai or Montra Yokrattanakan appeared in court on 29  September 2016 on a lese majeste charge.

She entered a not guilty plea in the Criminal Court, which set 21 November “for a preliminary hearing to examine evidence and witness lists after the 56-year-old affirmed her innocence and said she would defend herself in court.”Monta

Ying Kai was reportedly “arraigned on Wednesday for insulting the royal institution in allegedly telling other people she was a khunying, a title bestowed by His Majesty the King, and was close to the royal institution.”

It is unclear which royal or royals she claimed to be “close” with. The alleged claims are said to be false and “used to seek undue favours and benefits,” which is what those close to royals tend to do.

As usual in lese majeste cases, the court rejected her bail request.

The woman has also been charged with lodging false complaints, human trafficking and defamation, all of them currently still under police investigation.

Updated: More Ying Kai-related lese majeste cases

1 09 2016

A while ago PPT created a page for the Ying Kai lese majeste case. It seems we need to create another three pages for new cases being brought against Monta or Montra “Ying Kai” Yokrattanakan’s elder sister, an official – nor “former” official – of the Royal Household Bureau, and another man, still to be arrested.

The Bangkok Post reports that both Ying Kai’s sister Kamonthat “Kim-eng” Sae Thanathornkhositjira and former Royal Household Bureau employee Taworn Puangpratoom are both accused of being members of an “alleged … criminal plot,” fraud and lese majeste.

Kamonthat, aged 62, was detained a few days ago. She was accused of “fraud and falsifying documents, with alleged links to lese majeste offences.” Police raided “a condominium building on Lat Phrao Soi 60 in Bangkok where they searched three luxurious units for further evidence related to lese majeste offences.”

She stands “accused of invoking the royal institution in a fund-raising scam that swindled more than 3 million baht from victims.” The search reportedly “found many valuable items including antique porcelain, ivory tusks, swords, statues and amulets. Documents and some valuable items bearing royal emblems were also found.”

(This all sounds like the reporting of the Pongpat case and that of Mor Yong.)

The police are “examining the royal emblems to determine if the items are fake. If evidence is found that she had cited the royal institution as alleged, police would press additional charges of breaching Section 112 of the Criminal Code…”.

The second person being investigated is Taworn, aged 66, who was “detained” on 29 August 2016, at his home in Huay Kwang. Taworn was charged “as an accomplice of Ms Kamonthat.” He faces “allegations of fraud and falsifying documents in a scheme involving lese majeste offences.”

The arrest of Taworn is “seen as a significant breakthrough in the case.” What is significant is that he “worked at the [Royal Household B]ureau’s Royal Chamberlains Division (Chitralada Palace)…”.

The Criminal Court also approved a police request to arrest “another man, identified as Somsak Siriyakom, who is still at large. Mr Somsak faces the same charges as Mr Taworn.” We do not know if he was also employed in the royal household.

Several people “have  lodged official complaints with police that they were conned by the alleged Kim-eng scheme. They include an army major-general and a colonel.” The “scheme” seems to have involved taking donations after a television program where Kamonthat lauded the monarchy.

The police claim “Kamonthat’s network” was larger than the three who have been named so far.

This case, along with several others, suggests massive corruption has riddled the royal household, probably for many years.

Update: Khaosod reports a somewhat ambiguous police claim: that Taworn “dressed himself to look similar to an official from the royal palace to fool victims into believing that Mrs. Kim Eng was someone close to people in the high circle…”. He did work for the Royal Household Bureau.

The Lady Kai case

20 07 2016

PPT posted a couple of weeks ago on the “Ying Kai” or Montra Yokrattanakan (“Monta” in some reports) case. She’s a “socialite,” who was reported as being investigated and then was jailed, accused of fraud, human trafficking and lese majeste.

As we updated our Pending cases pages to include Ying Kai, we noticed that the Thai Visa site has taken a particular interest in the case, and our page on the case includes most of the links to Thai Visa stories.

This is another odd lese majeste case, and those interested can follow the story, as it is reported, through these links.

Updated: Lese majeste and hi-so fraud and deception

8 07 2016

Reports of a “socialite” being investigated for having engaged in fraud and human trafficking got PPT’s attention about a week ago, but insufficient for a post. After all, the rich in Thailand are renowned for involvement in all kinds of scams that they can engage in with impunity. Even human trafficking has long been associated with the rich and powerful.

The complaint against “Ying Kai” or Montra Yokrattanakan [“Monta” in some reports] was made and she made counter-claims, declaring that the “maids” who complained had stolen from her. She mentioned that this included “40 gold bars, a gold ornament and a diamond necklace, worth more than 10 million baht in all.”Monta

We did then note what seemed, at the time, an oddity, in a report of the “maids” making a counter-counter-claim:

On June 17, four days before the young woman was scheduled to report to Pracha Chuen police, lawyer Songkran Athariyasap stepped in to help the family. Mr Songkran, who is also the chairman of a group called the Network against Acts that Destroy Kingdom, Religion and Monarchy, took the three to submit a petition to the CSD on June 21 to seek justice.

The involvement of the ultra-royalist lawyer became clearer when Khaosod reported that the “Criminal Court on Thursday ordered a businesswoman to be imprisoned for 12 days as she awaits trial on several grave offenses, including, most notably, insulting the monarchy [lese majeste].” We noted that it refers to the Criminal Court rather than the Military Court.

Despite the “series of allegations of human trafficking and abusing justice system for the last week,” it is reported that “the investigation took a dramatic turn today after police also charged her with royal defamation [lese majeste], a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail.”

Police investigators had “requested that she be held in remand, citing a fear that she may interfere with evidence if freed on bail.” Montra posted a bail request, but “the court … ruled against Monta and ordered her to be jailed. She was taken directly to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.”

She now faces charges of “human trafficking, filing false complaints to police, harassment and insulting the monarchy [lese majeste].”

On the lese majeste charges, precious few details have been provided, with police saying “saying that Monta made false claims that she has a royal bloodline, and that she was also bestowed a royal title by … the King.” The officer in charge stated: “She falsely claimed ties to the High Institution [the monarchy]…. Please don’t go into details about this case. It’s a sensitive matter.” The Bangkok Post had earlier reported “that she was a khunying, a title bestowed by the King.”

Needless to say, there is more to this story than is currently reported. For a start, the case has echos of earlier cases of lese majeste linked to Crown Prince Vajiralonkorn and the mass arrests and jailing on lese majeste charges that followed his estrangement from then Princess Srirasmi.

One report says Montra has denied all charges and allegations. As previously has happened in several similar cases, we might expect the innocent plea to be changed to guilty and for her to be quickly jailed.

Update: The Nation reports that “Central Investigation Bureau chief Pol General Thitirat Nonghanpithaks saying on Friday that a probe found Monta may have ‘uncontrollable behaviour’ which, if not treated, could cause her to commit illegal activities and injury to others.” Despite this, and as seen in several lese majeste cases, mental illness seems not to be a defense. Indeed, the report states: “Monta ‘Ying Kai’ Yokratanakan will still be punished if found guilty of a string of charges even if it were discovered she has a mental illness, police have said.”

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