Divorce destruction continues

22 03 2015

Reuters reports that a military court has “jailed three brothers of a former princess for 5-1/2 years, in the latest court decision giving prison time to family members after her dramatic fall from grace last year.”

We understand the confusion on these cases as they are piled very high. In fact, Nuttapong (as we have named him based on previous reports, but now listed as Natthapol) and Narong Suwadee are brothers and Sitthisak Suwadee is a nephew of Srirasmi.

The report claims that “Srirasmi Suwadee, formerly known as Princess Srirasmi, is divorced from Crown Prince … Vajiralongkorn, and relinquished her royal title last December.”

As far as we are aware, no divorce has been announced. Rather, acts of personal and family destruction have been underway.

Reuters notes that the three were given 11 years in prison each, reduced to 5.5 years because they confessed to the “crimes of theft, insult to the monarchy and illegal detention…”. It is not immediately clear what their sentence was on the lese majeste charges, but it matters little to the outcome.

Khaosod reports that the prosecutor alleged that Natthapol, Narong and Sitthisak “were hired by a businessman named Nopporn Supphapipat [Suppipat] to coerce a money lender into reducing Nopporn’s debt from 120 million baht to 20 million baht.” It was further alleged that “the three men abducted Nopporn’s money lender, Witthaya Panyathaweekool, in front of his house in Bangkok on 20 March 2014. The trio allegedly detained him overnight and forced him to reduce Nopporn’s debt, citing their connection to then-Princess Srirasmi.”

At the time of the alleged offenses, Natthapol and Narong “were serving in the Crown Prince’s personal bodyguard unit…”.

The three were arrested in November 2014.

Reuters states that a “purge of some of Srirasmi’s relatives began last year after the sudden dismissal of her uncle [Pongpat Chayapan], one of Thailand’s most senior police officers.” Since then dozens of her family and associates have been jailed.

The report then states: “As the arrests reached fever pitch Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn asked the government to strip his wife’s family of their royally-bestowed name.” We think this is a slippery way of reporting a chicken and egg story. The report implies that the prince ditched Srirasmi after her relatives were found to be up to no good. It is well known that Vajiralongkorn had a new wife on the side and that she was the favorite. Ditching Srirasmi with a huge story about crime seems convenient.

The closeness of all of this to the prince’s household raises many questions that no one in Thailand is permitted to ask.

Gold and the family

17 03 2015

Some readers will have followed the auctions of the alleged illicit goods that were in the hands of Pongpat Chayapan. In a related case, still burying the family and associates of Srirasmi, the brother of the estranged third wife of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, has been said to have had a stash of gold.

Khaosod reports that “the military has located 2 million baht worth of gold reportedly hidden” by Narong Suwadee. As they sometimes miraculously do, without explanation of how and why, the soldiers “found the gold during a raid of a hotel in Nakhon Pathom province…”.

Apparently, Narong “confessed to buying the gold with money acquired through extortion…. He also reportedly said he left the gold in the care of his friend, Udom Pongprae, whose wife owned the hotel where the gold was found.”

Narong is reported to be “currently being held at Klong Prem Prison in Bangkok for numerous charges, including extortion, possession of firearms without a permit, and illegal detention. He has also been charged with insulting the monarchy, a crime known as lese majeste, because he allegedly cited his ties to Srirasmi and the Thai Royal Family to carry out his criminal acts.”

It is amazing how these things just happen and, of course, under pain of lese majeste and the threats of the military dictatorship, no-one can ask the why and how questions.

PPT was a bit stumped on the naming of the suspect. We have a Nuttapong Suwadee listed as being detained. Is this the same man we wondered? However, another report explains that several brothers were arrested in December 2014.

Lese majeste cases mount

14 02 2015

Several new lese majest cases, all associated with other cases where people are already jailed, have recently  been announced.

Thai News Agency  reports (with a report at Prachatai) that Lepakorn Siripmongkol, an officer of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, has filed lese majeste complaints against Chakarn Phakphoom and Preecha Daradrai.

Chakarn and Preecha are reported to be connected with Nuttapong Suwadee, a brother to Srirasmi, the former royal consort to the Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. PPT thinks there are at least 28 lese majeste cases now in place against Srirasmi’s family and network.

Lepakorn claims that “in September 2014, he led an ONCB team to search the house, owned by Preecha, in accordance with a court search warrant for illicit drugs. Preecha who later came to the house reprimanded the officers and called [Chakarn], who claimed to be the secretary of Nattapong…. [Chakarn] allegedly claimed … his link to the monarchy to threaten the ONBC officers to stop searching and leave the house.”

The complaint states that, a day later, Preecha and Chakarn “came to the ONBC office and again reprimanded Lepakorn. They forced Lepakorn and other ONBC officers to apologize…”.

Chakarn is already jailed and facing two lese majeste charges for other claims of relationships with Srirasmi and Vajiralongkorn. Preecha is reportedly “still at large.”

Nuattapong is also in jail and facing several lese majeste charges for what Prachatai falsely reports is “falsely claiming about the monarchy.” Obviously, this can’t be a false claim because it is true – he was “connected.”

A few days ago, Prachatai also reported that “police have also arrested Natee P. and Saifon I. and accused them of offences under Article 112…”. Natee is accused of being the distributor of Banpot CDs and Saifon is accused of opening bank accounts for Banpot and “fundraising for him.” Both are in custody.

Updated: The prince’s lese majeste cases

28 12 2014

The number of lese majeste cases associated with Prince Vajiralongkorn’s purge of his third wife and her family have piled up.

So far, PPT has listed cases against Chakarn Phakphoom, Nopporn Suppipat, Nuttapong Suwadee (former Princess Srirasmi’s brother) and Sudathip Muangnual. This does not include Chainarin Nopchaloemroj and 13 others who seem involved in a related purge.

Following a report in the Bangkok Post, we are listing six more.

The first is former Central Investigation Bureau chief Pongpat Chayapan. There’s been plenty of media attention to Pongpat, who is former Princess Srirasmi’s uncle.

The other five “suspects,” accused of lese majeste and sundry other crimes are Pongpat’s deputy Pol Maj Gen Kowit Wongrungroj,former chief of the Marine Police Division Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb Phraithuean, former chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Sub-Division 4 Pol Col Wuthichat Liansukhon, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Surasak Channgao and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chattrin Laothong.

So far it seems that 24 persons have been ousted in what looks like a succession purge.

Update: PPT has completed a listing of English-language news reports on these cases. Most are listed at Pongpat’s page. If we have missed anything important, let us know by email.

Lese majeste cases build III

13 12 2014

The Bangkok Post reports that two more of the “suspects” in former Central Investigation Bureau chief’s crime network/Prince Vajiralongkorn’s divorce case have been slapped with further lese majeste charges.

On Friday, the Bangkok military court “issued the second lese majeste arrest warrant for two men already detained for his alleged connection with Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayapan’s network,” former Princess Srirasmi’s family and her very nasty separation from the prince.

The report states that “Chakarn Phakphoom and Nuttapong Suwadee faced another lese majeste charge after the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) had filed a complaint against them at Lat Phrao police station early in October.”

A couple of points here. First, we believe this is the earliest report we have seen on this case. Second, NIDA has been a nest of yellow shirts for several years, so it is interesting to see its involvement in this case.

NIDA states that Chakarn failed to meet the minimum attendance requirements for his post-graduate studies and conspired with Nuttapong to have NIDA believe that “Chakarn was on a palace mission.” The story continues: “He [Chakarn] later brought three letters signed by Mr Nuttapol saying Mr Chakarn had missed his class because he had to attend to a very important person.” NIDA apparently acepted this claim and “allowed him to sit for the examination.”

It seems that NIDA accepts that students serving the monarchy are treated differently from all other students. In this case, the only thing that went wrong was that they felt duped. Thailand is a very messy place when royalty is fiddling things.

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