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.





Lawless cops

5 11 2021

In a post a day or so ago, PPT in discussing another unusual court ruling, we referred to Chapter III of the 2017 Constitution where the Rights and Liberties of Thais are set out. In commenting we noted that ” the regime is arguably in breach of almost all of the provisions in that chapter.”

A reader asked us for an example. Rather than going through past cases, we thought it better to refer to a case we had yet to comment on.

Prachatai reports on the arrest of two people “during a candle vigil for a dead protester at Din Daeng Police Station…”. The claim to have been subject to “beatings and death threats” in police custody. In other words, they were tortured.

Arguably, this arrest and torture breaches Articles 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

But, as we know, the regime and its minions don’t give a fig about law and constitution, while the police are thugs, torturers and murderers. In this case, one of the men was arrested on 29 October. He was beaten and threatened:

… he and another protester were taken inside the police station where he was subjected to beatings in an effort to obtain information that he said he did not know. The police reportedly told him that if he died during the beatings, they would make his death look like an accident.

“A police officer senior to the others said ‘Let me have him. I want this one.’ Then he started the beating, asking me if I knew the shooter. I said I didn’t but he kept on hitting me.”

“They beat me a lot. They kicked me.  They punched me. They smacked my head into a wooden chair. They use a baton on to hit the ribs on my right  side. Then, they choked me to get my phone password… I told them but it was wrong.  I couldn’t remember. They squeezed my neck so hard that I almost fainted.”

He was released on 02.30.  Afterwards, he was subject to normal investigation procedures and charged with participating in a gathering and causing public disorder.

Another man who was arrested and beaten. He was

… taken to a solitary room and stripped down to his pants. Interrogators stomped on his genitals and stubbed out cigarettes on his lower stomach.

“It was very bad. I had to brace myself all the time because I didn’t know when they were going to hit me again…”.

All of this is now standard police practice.





Fanaticism and posterior buffing

18 10 2021

Remember when the police were considered politically unreliable? No more. Since the 2014 military coup, the junta and its successor regime have purged the police and made them ever more royalist and loyalist.

A Khaosod report shows how far this has gone, with some police rivaling the military in posterior polishing. It tells of the Samut Prakan City Police Station where some bright spark commander decided to promote himself by having the police on the beat “encourage local residents to attend the daily flag-raising ceremony alongside the officers…”.

The idea was “to instill a sense of patriotism,” with “each police officer on patrol duty was told to invite two residents they’re familiar with to join the National Flag raising ceremony at the police station.”

However, online critics pounced and the order was withdrawn.

Police spokesman Maj Yingyot Themchamnong “told reporters … that the station has since canceled its invitation, due to miscommunication,’ but did not elaborate.”

Yingyot insisted the program was created “to instill ‘love for the Nation, Religions, and Monarchy’.”

We suspect that the effort was right-wing fanaticism, posterior polishing of those above or both.





Slithering through money and corruption

1 10 2021

PPT has had several posts over almost a decade regarding the unexplained wealth of former national police chief Pol Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang. Thinking about this great wealth and his tenure, it is little surprise that he’s now caught up in the long cover-up of Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya’s crime.

Along with Vorayuth’s lawyer,Thanit Buakhiew, The Nation reports that Gen Somyos “will be investigated by a Royal Thai Police special committee for their alleged involvement in altering the actual car speed at which Vorayuth was driving in the 2012 hit-and-run case that killed a motorcycle police officer.”

Gen Somyos, who has never been shy in flaunting his wealth and his connections, has prospered and his wealth has grown over the years and despite several “investigations” that have never been reported as finished or found little wrong with a junta ally being corrupt.

This latest “investigation” after the “Royal Thai Police … appointed a special committee to investigate the case…”:

Police Internal Affairs chief Pol General Wisanu Prasatthong-Osot, who chaired the committee, said on Wednesday that Pol Colonel Thanasit Daengjan, the investigation officer in Vorayuth’s case, had presented an audio clip indicating that Somyos and Thanit had allegedly told him to change the speed of Vorayuth’s car from 177 km per hour to just 76 km per hour.

“The reported reduction in car speed was the reason why the public prosecutor decided to drop the charge of reckless driving against Vorayuth,” Wisanu said.

As the Bangkok Post recalls:

A speeding charge against him [Vorayuth] was dropped after its one-year statute of limitations expired in 2013. A second charge — failing to stop to help a crash victim — expired on Sept 3, 2017. His drug and reckless driving charges remain active until Sept 3 next year and 2027, respectively.

The Office of the Attorney General initially dropped the last charge but later decided to reinstate it after a public outcry.

It may be that Gen Somyos slithers out of another “investigation,” but it is worthwhile considering the obvious: Why would the country’s top cop intervene in such a manner? Look at the photo above. Look at the record. Think of the way the rich “enjoy” the so-called justice system.





Vigilantes and cops

28 09 2021

A few days ago, Prachatai reported that student activist Panupong Jadnok – known as Mike – has “again been detained after being denied bail on a royal defamation charge [they mean Article 112, lese majeste] filed against him by a royalist activist for a Facebook post about monarchy reform.”

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights state that Panupong met with the public prosecutor on 23 September 2021 to be “informed that the public prosecutor had decided to indict him and he was taken to court.”

While Mike’s lawyer filed a bail request, as is common, it was denied.

The denial “was signed by judge Chanathip Muanpawong, Deputy Chief Justice of the Criminal Court, who earlier this year denied bail to several pro-democracy activists detained pending trial.” Prachatai also recalls that it was:

Chanathip … who sentenced Ampon Tangnoppakul, or “Uncle SMS,” to 20 years in prison on a royal defamation charge under Section 112 in 2011, after Ampon was accused of sending messages to Somkiat Krongwattanasuk, who was at the time the secretary of then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, which were deemed offensive to the King and Queen.  Ampon died in prison.

Panupong has now been charged under Article 112, and an “offense to national security under Section 14 of the Computer Crimes Act.”

Ultra-royalist bully Nangnoi

As we have posted several times previously, it is an ultra-royalist cyber-vigilante group that has made the complaint leading to the charges. It is again cyberbully royalist Nangnoi Assawakittikorn, a leader of the misnamed royalist group Thailand Help Center for Cyberbullying Victims:

The complaint was based on a Facebook post on 8 November 2020 which said “Do you think that you will look dignified standing on the ruins of democracy or on the corpses of the people?” along with the hashtag #ปฏิรูปสถาบันกษัตริย์ (#MonarchyReform).

It is claimed that the “original post also reportedly refers to the [k]ing by name.”

Panupong is detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison. He is now “facing 9 charges under Section 112; he has already been indicted on 3. He was previously detained pending trial on charges relating to the 19 September 2020 protest, and was in detention for 86 days before being released on 1 June 2021.”

One of the “lessons” of this case is to reinforce how much the police work hand-in-glove with ultra-royalist vigilantes. The cops are effectively royalists’ processing terminal for royalist repression.





Military godfathers and the corruption of parties and politics

26 09 2021

Thai PBS reports on continuing ructions in the Palang Pracharat Party that has Gen Prawit Wongsuwan’s underlings pitted against Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. It turns out that the failed plot to unseat Gen Prayuth during the recent censure debate was only round 1 of this fight.

The start of the second round came when plotter and convicted heroin trafficker and “influential person” Thammanat Prompao retained his Party post. It is presumed that General Prawit was behind this. Prawit then doubled-down, appointing “a former Army rival of the PM” as the Party’s new chief strategist. Gen Vitch Devahasdin Na Ayudhya took this “powerful post previously held by the current party leader, Deputy Premier General Prawit…”.

Previously, in 2010, Gen Vitch was assistant Army chief and “was appointed to the Centre for Resolution of Emergency Situation, which was tasked with handling the red-shirt protests against Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government.”

In that year, Gen Vitch was competing with Gen Prayuth to “succeed outgoing Army chief Gen Anupong Paochinda. However, the post was eventually handed to Gen Prayut instead.” This despite Gen Vitch’s long connection with Gen Prawit.

Readers can read the whole story for the details or plow through the most recent post at Secret Siam, which posits a deep and long struggle, including speculation regarding parts played by none other than Thaksin Shinawatra.

One thing is clear: that the rise and rise of the unsavory Thammanat demonstrates how “a powerful political broker” with a criminal past (who knows about the present?) can float to the top through links built through equally unsavory characters in the military (and higher).

The story of Thammanat’s rise is like a Thai version of “The Godfather,” but most of the protagonists are military mafia.

Thai PBS says “Vitch has been close to Gen Prawit since their early years in the Royal Thai Army three decades ago, and reportedly introduced Thammanat to Prawit.” It goes on to say that it was Thammanat who “helped Vitch to get into the ruling party.”

Gen Vitch is open regarding his links to “dark influences,” saying:

he has known Thammanat since the latter worked for his long-time friend Gen Trairong Intarathat. Also known as “Seh Ice”, Trairong once served as an adviser to then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and was described as an influential figure.

So mafia-connected military figures have swirled through various governments for several years. For those who don’t know Seh Ice, his brief obituary says this:

Gen Trairong was born on Sept 1, 1949, the fourth of the four sons of Maj Phone Intarathat, a former director of the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly, and ML Kanyaka Suthat.

He was a Class 10 student of the Armed Forces Academy Preparatory School and Class 21 cadet of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy in the cavalry division.

His classmates at the Armed Forces Academy Preparatory School included Thaksin, Gen Anupong Paojinda, the current interior minister, ACM Sukumpol Suwanathat, a former defence minister, and Gen Prin Suwanathat, a former transport minister.

He held several important positions in military service, including specialist attached to the Supreme Command, chief of the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence, an army specialist, and chief of staff officers for the defence minister (Gen Thammarak Issarangura Na Ayutthaya).

Not long before he died in 2016, he was identified, along with Thammanat, Seh Ice was identified in a military report as an influential mafia boss:

Two of four people reportedly named as “influential criminal figures” on a military document deny any wrongdoing, saying there is not a shred of truth to the allegation.

“That’s ridiculous, and I’m wondering which [security] people think like that,” former army specialist Gen Trairong Intaratat, better known as Seh Ice, said yesterday….

The three others named in the document are Karun Hosakul, a former Pheu Thai Party MP for Bangkok’s Don Muang district; Capt Thammanat Prompao, a former close aide to Gen Trairong and said to be involved in several enterprises including lottery ticket distribution; and Chaisit Ngamsap, who is alleged to be connected to illegal activities in the Mor Chit area of Bangkok.

Capt Thammanat, a former military officer, said he had contacted 1st Division commander, Maj Gen Narong Jitkaew, to ask him about the document and was told the information came from an intelligence report and there were no plans to summon him.

And, here’s an AFP report from 1998, with Thammanat playing a lead role:

BANGKOK, Sept 9 (AFP) – Eighteen middle-ranking Thai military officers are being investigated for links to an international heroin trafficking operation, the supreme commander of Thailand’s armed forces said Wednesday.

General Mongkol Ampornpisit said the officers had been re-admitted into the military in the past two years and the scandal, the latest in a series to rock the Thai military, had prompted him to order that all recently re-admitted officers have their backgrounds checked.

“I have submitted the names of all re-admitted officers for the last two years to have their criminal backgrounds checked with the police,” General Mongkol told reporters, without elaborating on the heroin trafficking allegations.

He said he hoped the move to vet officers would help contain one of the biggest scandals to hit the Thai military establishment in many years.

The revelation of the heroin investigation follows another scandal involving an army captain at the centre of a murder probe, who had previously served a jail term in Australia for drug trafficking.

Mongkol conceded the military had been lax when re-admitting Captain Patchara [Thammanat] Prompao into the armed forces after he was fired twice and convicted of narcotics trafficking.

Patchara is now in detention awaiting trial in a civilian court after he surrendered to police on Monday to face charges that he raped and then beat a male academic to death.

In June, amid a drive was to make the armed forces more accountable, the government demanded the military disclose the contents of secret bank accounts they had been allowed to keep.

Earlier this year the armed forces were accused by opposition politicians of involvement in vast illegal logging operations in northern Thailand.

So many connections, so many charges – none of which have held up in the Thailand. That’s what a mafia system is about and this is how it works. More tellingly, the military continues to reward crooks who slither to the top.

As the Bangkok Post reports, the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School has recognized Thammanat as and outstanding alumnus:

The controversial soldier-turned-politician was nominated for the award this year, but due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the usual annual ceremony to present the award to him and other outstanding Afaps alumni has been postponed until next year….

It is said Thammanat has declined the award, but the “honoring” of one of its most corrupt alumni is a telling indictment of a corrupt organization. The military (and police) cannot tell right from wrong, and instills this “value” in its new officer cadets.








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