Managing the corruption system

1 02 2023

As often happens when authoritarian governments are in place for a long time, corruption becomes embedded, systemic, and necessary for keeping the corrupt together and supportive.

Of late, reports of corruption have been legion. Yet the Bangkok Post has a jubilant headline, “Thailand improves in corruption survey.” Seriously? It turns out that Transparency International has ranked Thailand 101 out of 180 in its ranking. The Post says the country’s score went up one point and adds:

In 2014, the year Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha staged a military coup, the country was ranked 85th, an improvement from 102nd in 2013. Its ranking rose to 76th in 2015 but plunged to 101st place the following year. It recovered to 96th in 2017 but then began a downward move to 99th in 2018, 101st place in 2019, 104th in 2020 and 110th in 2021.

Let’s be realistic. This is a ranking that puts Thailand among a bunch of dubious places. We’d guess that if perceptions were surveyed today, they’d plummet, largely thanks to the mafia gang known as the Royal Thai Police and the mammoth horse trading by the coalition parties.

Rotten to the core

While on the corrupt cops, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has mumbled something about a few bad apples in the police. He has “insisted that any police officers involved in extorting money from a Taiwanese actress during her trip to Thailand early this month must face legal action.” He added: “Don’t let the issue ruin the reputation of the whole police organisation.”

We are not sure which reputation he refers to. As far as we can tell, the organization is rotten to the core.

Gen Prayuth reckons “we must get rid of rogue ones…”. Our guess is that if he was serious – he isn’t – just about every senior officer would be gotten rid of. The corruption system siphons money up to the top. There’s been little effort to follow up on data revealed when the regime established its post-coup assembly. Back then, the average declared assets for the top brass in the police was a whopping 258 million baht.

Even when senior police display their loot, nothing is done. Who remembers former police chief Somyos Pumpanmuang? He stacked loot in public! He’s still wealthy.

The Post has another headline: “Court lets ‘Pinky’ remove electronic tag.” It reports:

Actress Savika “Pinky” Chaiyadej on Tuesday won approval from the Criminal Court to remove an electronic monitoring (EM) device she was required to wear after her release from jail on Nov 30 last year.

She is on bail, accused of defrauding millions in the Forex-3D ponzi scheme.How did her lawyers convince the judge?

Her lawyer lodged a request for the court’s permission to remove the EM device, saying it was an impediment to her show business career.

Of course, there’s no such leniency for lese majeste and other political prisoners when they eventually get bail (some, of course, never do). Double standards? You bet!

Double standards and corruption are a feature of the monarchy-military regime. Part of the reason for this is mutual back-scratching. Much that the regime does makes the bureaucrats more or less untouchable. The judiciary is always there in support on the important issues.

We note that another junta and Prayuth supporter, former charter writer Udom Rathamarit, has been appointed to the Constitutional Court. That is an important part of the whole corrupt system.





Nothing much changes

25 01 2023

Under the monarchy-military regime nothing much changes, even as the arrangement of the regime’s deckchairs is changing. There are so many recent stories that fir the “here-we-go-again” scenario that has marked the years since 2006. Here’s a selection from the past few days, leaving out the myriad of what are now everyday corruption stories:

At the Bangkok Post: It is 13 Years since the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime permitted the Royal Thai Army, commanded by Gen Anupong Paojinda and Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, to murder red shirts. On Monday, former red shirt leaders “called on national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas to speed up investigations into the deaths of red-shirt protesters during their 2010 clashes with the military.”

“Speed up” is an interesting term given that since the 2014 military coup, there’s been no progress. We assume that Gen Prayuth’s administration has ordered that nothing be done.

At least 62 cases of remain unresolved. The regime has no interest in doing this as when cases were investigated, it was clear that the Army killed protesters.

From Thai Newsroom: Gen Prayuth has been urged to give up his free house currently provided by the Army:

Thai Liberal MP Napaporn Petjinda insisted that Prayut, who is seeking to retain power for two more years after the next general election, leave the army house in the premises of the First Infantry Regiment in Bangkok provided as free accommodation for him since the last several years.

Others who get taxpayer-funded housing on Army bases are Gen Anupong and Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. Why? Who knows.

The report adds: “Those who are contesting the general election including members of cabinet are legally prohibited from using government property or personnel during their electoral campaigns.” One of the tame “anti-corruption” agencies that never finds against the regime once declared this corrupt practice to be fine and dandy.

Good people can be as bad as they like.

From The Nation: Some of the unelected dolts in the Senate reckon the regime, in all its splintering parties, might need some “legal” vote-buying by suggesting that every voter be given 500 baht for voting. Of course, Thailand regularly has very high voter turnout, but these brainless dyed hairs probably reckon that the “voluntary” voters are not the right ones, so an incentive is needed.

We don’t think this proposal will go anywhere, but it reflects the growing anxiety about the election and demonstrates (again) the vacant craniums the are strewn around the regime’s house of parliament.

From Thai PBS: The great fear that opposition parties might win an election is rattling the Thai PBS news desk. They reckon “[m]any were surprised to see master powerbroker Thammanat Prompow kneeling on stage to present a garland to Palang Pracharath leader General Prawit Wongsuwan, in a symbolic apology and show of remorse.” We assume that by “many,” they mean the Thai PBS news desk because everyone knew this was about to happen. But their real story is the fear that Thaksin Shinawatra is coming back.

Ho hum. Every campaign leading up to coup and election since 2006 has run this line. It remains to be seen if this call to yellow arms will again rally the faithful anti-Thaksin crowd.

From Prachatai: Reader might recall the case of Tun Min Latt and others arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, and the “lucky” escape of one of the junta’s approved senators Upakit Pachariyangkun. This report is about a court case, but the “fun” is in the details about what seems like Thailand’s largest criminal organization, the Royal Thai Police:

On the same day of the arraignment, the Inside Thailand news show reported that Pol Maj Kritsanat Thanasuphanat, the officer in the Metropolitan Police who took charge of the arrest of Tun Min Latt and the others, was ordered to be reassigned from Bangkok to an equivalent position in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum. The news show interpreted this as a form of retribution for his bold performance.

“Bold performance” means doing what the police are usually empowered to do. Not running scams, cooperating with criminals, organising wealth extraction, running all kinds of crime activities, torturing and murdering people, arranging escapes for the rich and powerful, and all the other stuff that is reported on a daily basis as the Royal Thai Police’s “normal work.”





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.





How corrupt are Thailand’s police?

20 09 2022

Very corrupt. Thailand ranks a low 24th of 100 countries included in Index Mundi’s Police Corruption Perceptions Index.

As explained at the website: “The purpose of the Police Corruption Perceptions Index is to provide a subjective measure of the level of corruption in a given country as perceived by its inhabitants.” The survey used asks: “How big of a problem is police corruption in the country where you live?”

Added to its in-bred corruption is the junta/military-backed regime’s politicization of the police since the 2014 military coup and the palace’s interventions in who gets to the top of one of the world’s most corrupt police forces.





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.





Police goons, repression and stalking

10 02 2022

Thai Enquirer has reported on “police are continuing a programme of harassment and intimidation against anti-government dissidents and members of the press by visiting homes unannounced and stalking relatives and friends of their targets.”

Clipped from The Nation

This is abuse by the Royal Thai Police.

According to iLaw, “at least 18 activists and journalists, including Sirote Klampaiboon a prominent reporter for Voice TV, has been visited by the police at their house between January 1 and 24.”

A university student protest group wants “an investigation into the police. They say many of those facing intimidation by security forces are not charged with any crime and should not be the subject of such intimidation.”

Amarat Chokepamitkul, an MP of the Move Forward Party, states: “The police have been doing this continuously… They have not stopped, especially in rural areas…”. Amaret added: “What I believe is disgusting is when they visit the houses and they could not find the activist, they will psychologically harass their family or neighbors instead…”. She said that “officers usually do is ask the neighbors about the whereabouts and the daily activities of the activist and then told them to beware of the activist as a dangerous individual and a threat to national security.”

Such visits are not one-offs, but regular.

These are Stasi tactics or, more recently, Chinese state tactics. References to goons seems appropriate.





Police and impunity

20 01 2022

A few days ago, PPT asked about Pol Col Thitisan “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari,” caught on camera suffocating a man to death. We asked: Whatever happened to that case?

As if by magic, there’s a new report. It says that the “former Muang Nakhon Sawan police chief testified before the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases on Wednesday during a court trial.”

Pol Col Thitisan testified that “he used the plastic bag to intimidate the suspect and did not wrap it too tightly.” He’s angling to get out of this. That he’s not on trial fro murder suggests that some think he can get away with murder.

In reading this we were reminded of a book PPT read some time ago about Patani. It makes clear that the “methods” used in the 1940s are similar to those used today. In other words, Joe did as he was trained: torture, murder, corruption, impunity. Here’s some quotes from the book:

With the police, a criminal who was caught could with case be safe and free if he gave them a bribe…. [W]hen a Malay was accused of friendship with bad elements, he was immediately arrested by the Siamese police, taken to a lonely place, and beaten before he was taken to the place of detention. This also happened to Malays accused of taking part in political movements critical of the government. They were always threatened and slandered in various ways by the Siamese police, arrested, or simply beaten without bothering to take die matter to court.

Siamese police went to this village to arrest Malay youths and proceeded to torture them in various ways in order to find out who among them was the murderer.

On 26 September 1947 Miss Barbara Wittingham-Jones, an English reporter, visited Patani for the first time since the end of the war. She traveled through 250 miles of the country in order to study and observe the condition of the 700,000 Malays under the oppression of the Kingdom of Siam.

In her words “Wherever I went, I found principles of oppression applied in an organized manner and an intentional movement launched to Siamize die subjects of the country.”

“Every level of Siamese officials take bribes…”.

“Malays are often summarily shot without further investigation or mysteriously disappear without leaving a trace or further reports.”

Nothing much has changed.





More 112 charges urged II

9 12 2021

A pattern has emerged. In our last post, we noted that national police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk had urged police superintendents to give even more attention to “national security” cases involving lese majeste and sedition.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda, and the leaders of the armed forces came together for an ISOC meeting “that was held to sum up its performance over the past year and to announce its action plan for 2022.”

Three army generals in 2019. Clipped from the Bangkok Post

The Internal Security Operations Command has arguably been the most critical agency collecting intelligence on the regime’s and the monarchy’s opponents. It has a nationwide organization that mirrors the civil bureaucracy. It also arranges “fake news,” including “plots” against the monarchy and builds royalist “movements” to face down “threats” from regime opponents.

It is reported that Gen Prayuth “laid down polices for the command to focus more on regional security and tackle threats to national security.” Those latter words are the code for the monarchy.

Bizarrely, Gen Prayuth described this most politicized of agencies as “not a political unit but a body supporting other agencies’ efforts to solve problems besetting the country.”

ISOC’s political role was further emphasized when Gen Prayuth urged “… Isoc and the interior minister to work together closely to address problems through democratic means, adding that dated laws and regulations should be amended to boost efficiency.”

They already do, but little of what they do can be realistically described as “democratic,” except in regime doublespeak.

The pattern being set is a division of roles, with the military and ISOC working on intelligence, using “counterinsurgency” techniques to control the provinces, while the police crack heads and wage lawfare, arresting protesters while the courts lock them up





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.





Rotten to the core

25 11 2021

Rotten to the core

A Bangkok Post editorial expressed considerable concern over the disappearance of Sahachai Jiansermsin, known as Joe Pattani.

It states:

The disappearance of a tycoon at the centre of an oil smuggling and money laundering racket in the South just hours after his arrest early this month dealt a heavy blow to the Royal Thai Police (RTP). His high-profile escape drew public attention and tarnished the battered reputation of the justice system.

As of now, the whereabouts of … Joe Pattani…, who was nabbed on Nov 4 in the Huai Khwang area of Bangkok in accordance with an arrest warrant approved in February by the Songkhla Provincial Court, remains unknown. It’s believed he left the country after being released without charge.

The Nov 4 arrest was initially based on a money laundering charge related to a 2012 oil smuggling case in which police seized more than 2,000 litres of oil and 48 million baht of cash in Songkhla. A police investigation showed his firm also sold more than 400 million litres of oil. He was initially charged with oil smuggling and money laundering. However, prosecutors early this month did not indict him….

How can it be that such a significant arrest could just slip away? Well, this is a “justice” system where the rich by the “justice” they want.

Surprisingly, the matter had become a cold case. Police recently admitted the Pattani court warrant had never been recorded in the system, which technically prompted Sahachai’s release from the arms of the law. The RTP has ordered a probe into police processes in Pattani while the officer who “forgot” to file the warrant in the system has been transferred pending investigation results.

As in so many other cases where the rich and influential can just melt away, there corrupt officials involved:

Yet it’s hard to believe his presumed escape was just an innocent mistake by the police. Sahachai is an influential tycoon. A police investigation of his phone records shows he was in contact with high-ranking officers and some politicians.

The Department of Special Investigation, in collaboration with the Revenue Department and Isoc, had discovered a list of state officials in several agencies, including officers in the 9th police region, who received kickbacks from him. The payments were said to have been made to bank accounts held by the wives of those officials.

Naturally enough, the Post recalls that other case where the rich and influential walk away, bend rules, pay off officials and others, and continue to live well:

Such a blatant case reminds one of the mishandling of the infamous hit-and-run saga involving the Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya by police and public prosecutors.

The Post focuses on the police, and it is true that the cops have been hopelessly corrupt for decades. Yet, corruption now runs deep through this regime. So many cases have been brushed aside. And, the leadership of the police has, since the 2014 coup, has been purged and every leader of the police has been chosen for loyalty to the regime. The police boss is even given a free seat in the senate. So, we’d say the focus should be on the regime. It has allowed corruption as a means to reward police and to ensure its political loyalty.

And, just as an aside, there’s much that the regime is doing to promote further corruption. Think of the fate of Hualampong station. Watch the money flow for a prime piece of central Bangkok real estate. And who has been getting huge contracts in the eastern seaboard developments? Who benefits from a telecoms merger? Watch the money flow.

No transparency means corruption is growing and infecting all parts of the regime and the state apparatus. It is rotten to the core.








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