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.

Understanding misunderstandings

10 05 2015

Thailand under the military dictatorship is not a normal place. While authoritarianism is expanding everywhere, Thailand seems to be one the few countries – perhaps the only one at present – ruled by a military junta.

Because there are few constraints on The Dictator or his regime, there are many odd things that happen. Nothing is more frustrating for political observers than trying to fathom the dark and unexplained machinations of the dictatorship. Analysts try to get in the heads of some very deeply flawed characters when they seek to understand the seemingly incomprehensible.

It often seems that General Prayuth Chan-ocha and his dictatorship is incomprehensible. The most recent example of this is is reported at Khaosod when a pack of armed soldiers “mistakenly” burst into a police office and “arrested nine businessmen from an Israeli technology firm” who were meeting with police demonstrating surveillance equipment.

There’s nothing odd in the police shopping for snooping devices that “would improve Thai police’s ability to intercept phone calls, track the location of phone users, and analyze calling data.”The cops involved were reported at the Bangkok Post as being Special Branch who specialize in tracking down lese majeste cases. Their motto is ”Excellence in Intelligence [they mean snooping, not thinking]. Protecting the Monarchy.” That they were seeking new technology seems unremarkable.

It was also reported that the raid took place “in the same compound as the national police headquarters.” That would seem both odd and remarkable. Troops in Humvees raiding police headquarters hardly seems an everyday event. The police claimed they were “shocked.”

The soldiers took the “businessmen” to the “2nd Cavalry Division base, where they were questioned and then released without charges…”. They were detained “under Order 3/2558, an order issued by the junta chairman that allows soldiers to detain individuals without charges.”

So unusual was this “detention” that both The Dictator and his flunkey police chief had to “explain” the event. PPT should explain that “explain” is in inverted commas because rather than explain, they conceal, confuse, distort, misrepresent, obscure and are vague.

Prayuth Chan-ocha “explained” that the “arrests were caused by a misunderstanding.” And not just any misunderstanding, but “a slight misunderstanding…”. We know this is horse manure when the testy General actually admitted that “he has apologized to the commanders of the Royal Thai Police and the Special Branch Police.” He seldom does that.

Prayuth went on to obscure: “We have reached understanding with each other now…. From now on, I want [security officers] to coordinate with each other. In this case, there was no coordination at all, so the subordinates… well, everyone just tried to do their duties. We had no intention to violate anyone’s dignity.”

He vehemently denied that there was “discord between the police and army…”. He demanded that the media do their “duty” and ignore the “slight misunderstanding.”

The Israeli Embassy stated that the “businessmen” had “obtained all necessary documents and permits from the relevant Thai government agencies as required by law…”. The Embassy said it had no idea why the men were arrested. This contradicted Prayuth who “explained” that the “firm’s representatives had not properly informed Thailand of their presence through a diplomatic channel.”

One report was that the military raided the sales event because of its “suspicion that police were trying to buy new equipment check on the movements of soldiers.”

Like arrests associated with “bombings,” this story is very likely going to fade from view, unexplained and forgotten by a compliant media.

Reading the military’s political dominance

21 07 2010

There are several items that caught PPT’s eye in the Bangkok Post today. All are indicative of the decline of politics under the Abhisit Vejjajiva military-civilian regime.

The first was in a story about the Constituency 6 election. In it, the Post reports the results of a Police Special Branch poll of voting intention. Why on earth is the Special Branch doing this? Are they trying to influence voters? Another sign of the throwback regime that is running Thailand’s politics in a manner that reflects the deepest, darkest days of the Cold War and military dominance.

Related in the sense that it shows how powerful the military have become is a second article that focuses on the failure to lift emergency rule in most provinces that still suffer this undemocratic intrusion on politics and daily lives. In it, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence General Apichart Penkitti is quoted as saying that he “believes the political activities of the Puea Thai Party and the red shirts still pose a threat…”. Apparently the general is worried about a birthday party for the absent Thaksin Shinawatra.

Now the last time PPT looked, Puea Thai was a legal political party. But the leading military bureaucrat now labels their political activities a threat. It is all downhill from here. Next they’ll want to ban Puea Thai after dissolving its two predecessor parties. Maybe the Department of Special Investigation will start crashing birthday parties in search of evil opponents of the regime and so-called Democrat Party?

The same article mentions that the army is “seeking 60 million baht from the central budget to support the work of security guards for the prime minister and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban amid rumours about an assassination plot.” This rumor has been around for a considerable time, but there is still no accounting of how much money CRES and the government are spending protecting themselves.

A third story, linked to the lack of transparency on military spending is the account of the army “seeking approval to buy an additional 121 armoured personnel carriers from the Ukraine even though it has yet to receive any of the vehicles it ordered three years ago.” Apparently, “army chief Anupong Paojinda has decided to spend his forces’ leftover funds for this year on 121 APCs from the Ukraine, which has yet to deliver the 96 vehicles ordered in 2007.” The APCs haven’t been delivered because the motors overheat and seize. So they are useless, but they order more. And Anupong wants the whole thing done before he retires. A retirement fund perhaps? If so, its 4.6 billion baht, making the non-flying and deflated 350 million baht zeppelin seem like small change.

It is all a bit too obvious and too depressing. Thailand is in a vortex of actions and interests that are at once a Cold War throwback but also something new, where the military has a civilian front. That seems to have been the lesson of failure of more or less direct military rule after the 2006 coup: get the civilians to be the front men and women and have them run down the rat hole of authoritarianism, censorship, repression and corruption.

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