Never ending “investigation”

19 10 2021

Impunity and cover-ups sometimes become even more farcical than usual when there are multiple, sometimes competing, “investigations.” This is particularly the case when powerful interests are involved and various “investigations” drag on for years and years.

The Red Bull scion murder of a policeman is one such case as officials give the impression that they have been bought and sold several times over the years.

An AFP photo clipped from ChannelNews Asia

The Bangkok Post reports that yet another committee has been formed to “investigate.” A “seven-member committee has been set up to conduct a serious disciplinary probe against former deputy attorney general Nate Naksuk over his decision to drop the charges against Red Bull scion Vorayuth ‘Boss’ Yoovidhya in the infamous 2012 hit-and-run case.”

Pachara Yutidhammadamrong, chairman of the Public Prosecutors Commission (PCC), said “expressed confidence in the committee members, saying the panel has full authority and independence in doing its task.”

Such has been said of several committees. This new “panel is expected to wrap up the investigation in 60 days, but it can extend the deadline twice, but not exceeding 180 days in total, if it needs more time…”.

This is also likely to involve yet another “investigation” of how prosecutors managed to change “the reported speed of the car driven by Mr Vorayuth. It is believed that the greatly reduced speed estimate was an important factor in the decision by prosecutors to drop the charges against Mr Vorayuth.”

Seldom do we hear of any “investigation” of the motivations involved in diddling the evidence and allowing Boss to go free. That might explain something about how bent the whole justice system is.





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.





Reflecting the regime V

22 09 2021

The Bangkok Post has an editorial that begins:

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has no reason to stall the Administrative Court’s order for it to release details about its probe into the luxury watches case involving Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon.

The NACC suffered a setback already when the court agreed with an online media outlet that requested the information.

It goes on to say that if the hopeless NACC “makes a further attempt to keep under wraps information about the probe which led to its decision to dismiss accusations that Gen Prawit gave a false wealth declaration by failing to include 22 luxury watches and rings,” then it “will risk losing [its]… credibility in performing their duties as graftbusters.”

We think the Post editors have lost their marbles. No one thinks the NACC has any credibility. It is a puppet organization. It is a sham anti-corruption organization.

Gen Prayuth and the NACC boss

The Post does list the feeble mumblings of senior NACC officials trying to avoid the court order. As usual, the regime and its puppets show no respect for the law.

Meanwhile, the reports of corruption and impunity are so common that no one seems to be flabbergasted any more. It is normal that the pigs feast.

How’s the “former Pol Col Thitisan “Joe Ferrari” Utthanaphon” coming along? Recall that Joe murdered a man. We were told that he was immediately a “former” cop after the killing. But, then, the “Police Serious Disciplinary Review Board has filed a complaint against …[Joe] and six subordinates…”. Deputy Inspector General Sarawut Kanpanich described them as “the seven police officers,” saying they “had committed serious disciplinary offences. ” His Board is about to “consider the evidence plus clarifications before presenting it to police chief Suwat Chaengyodsuk for a final decision on whether the accused should be discharged from office or fired.” The cover-up continues. Where’s the NACC?

And how about the long streak of stinking buffalo manure that is the case involving Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya? He killed a policeman and fled the scene.

After years of cover-ups, delays, and deliberate incompetence, Nate Naksuk, a former deputy attorney general, decided “to drop charges against the Red Bull scion in the infamous 2012 hit-and-run case.” Rather than being investigated by the NACC, he’s “being probed for severe disciplinary wrongdoings…”.

This a a bit of a turnaround after an earlier committee “ruled … that Mr Nate did not commit serious disciplinary violations over his decision not to indict the Red Bull heir…”. The Public Prosecutor Commission … meeting chaired by former attorney-general Pachara Yuttidhammadamrong” changed this decision. But only ” nine of the 13 commission members in attendance found that in deciding not to indict Mr Vorayuth, Mr Nate had acted without thorough judgement and had been careless.”

So off this small piece of the Red Bull collusion and cover-up goes off to yet another “probe team,” wasting more time, more money.

All of this stuff just goes on and on. Its boringly predictable, murky, and gives criminals and the corrupt carte blanche.

Thank the military for this state of lawlessness.





Updated: Corrupt coppers and the rotten system

7 09 2021

Rotten

The stories about corrupt cops keep coming. We could say rotten to the core, but rotten at the top is more appropriate.

The Bangkok Post reports that Pol Col Thitisan “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari,” caught on camera suffocating a man to death, has more money than any cop deserves.

Investigators say they have found he “owns property with an estimated value of at least 600 million baht.” We’d guess that this figure is an underestimate.

The investigators found Joe had “considerable assets in money and property,” saying this all came “from arrest rewards and tax-evasion concerning the import and sale of luxury vehicles, many of which had earlier been seized by the Customs Department.”

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

This is the investigators excusing Joes’ great wealth.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Suchart Theerasawat claimed Joe had “seized 410 imported cars for tax evasion and then gone on to oversee and profit from their auction by the Customs Department.”

Seriously? Even if accurate, did no one more senior than Joe not think this unusual? Of course not. Sounds like a scam to us.

But that’s how the Royal Thai Police operate.

Added to this corrupt tale is more reporting on the hit-and-run case involving the scion of the Red Bull empire, Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, who ran over and killed a lowly policeman and then fled the scene to his family palace.

A decision to “decide whether or not to endorse the findings of an internal disciplinary probe against Nate Naksuk, a former deputy attorney-general, over his questionable handling of the case. Nate was “backed by another high-ranking public prosecutor” in deciding to “drop the charge against … Vorayuth,” using “new” evidence “which painted the deceased victim of the crash as being responsible for his death.”

An internal team was assigned to probe if  Nate did anything wrong in using what seems concocted and paid-for “evidence.” Leaks suggest Nate is being let off. There’s no end to cover-ups.

Some time ago, following a public outcry over earlier cover-ups, Vicha Mahakun led a panel “which eventually found irregularities and interventions that were aimed to whitewash the wealthy scion.” Vicha and his panel “found evidence of intervention by officials, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, lawyers and witnesses.”

The Post states:

It is time the RTP wakes up to reality. The agency can no longer buy time with the hope that the public will soon forget. Thais can easily forget many, many things — but certainly not the Red Bull’s scion hit-and-run case.

Yet they keep getting away with murder, literally. The system is rotten, run by rotten men, all of whom benefit from the rotten system.

Update: Jonathan Head of the BBC in Bangkok has a useful and detailed story on the corrupt cop Joe Ferrari.





Updated: Reflecting the regime II

27 08 2021

Continuing with our posts about  things that define the regime’s royalist Thailand, there have been several reports in the last few days that do just that.

The Thai Enquirer’s Cod Satrusayang responded to the release of a video showing a senior police officer suffocating an alleged drug dealer while demanding a large bribe.

Of course, the video went viral, with an investigation launched. But there was a here-we-go-again feeling. We’ve been here before. We’ve seen and heard it before. And there was cynical resignation as many on social media predicted another cover-up. As Cod says, “we should be more surprised and shocked at the footage rather than nod along grimly.

After all, police and military enjoy impunity and the levels of corruption are legendary. Just think of the Red Bull hit-and-run case, the Korat killings, the Saudi Blue Diamond saga, the 2010 murder of red shirts, the forced disappearing and murder of numerous political figures, the shooting of Chaiyapoom Pasae, the Tak Bai deaths, and we could go on and on.

Cod puts it this way: The time has come to ask whether officers like this murderer is the exception or the rule.” He adds: Given the reality of things and given how endemic corruption is within the police force maybe the time has come to consider not just reforming the police but dissolving the force altogether.”

AP adds on this story, detailing the crimes. Police Col Thitisant “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari” who was caught on camera suffocating a man to death. It was Joe who tortured Jeerapong Thanapat, a 24-year-old drug suspect, attempting to extort two million baht from him. Like Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, Joe is on the lam.

It isn’t just murderous police who define the “good people” regime, but this regime is defined by failed/compromised institutions.

The police are hopeless, with allegations of police brutality and corruption common. The video was leaked to lawyer Sittha Biabangkerd who “received a complaint from a junior policeman in Nakhon Sawan…”. That policeman reported the usual cover-up:

When the suspect died, Thitisan allegedly ordered his men to take the body to the hospital and tell the doctor the death was caused by a drug overdose. The junior policeman said the woman was released but told not to say anything about it, and that Thitisan paid the victim’s father to remain silent.

The Bangkok Post reported that the “junior police officer … sought … help in forwarding the clip to the national police chief.” More revealingly, that junior officer and his fellow officers feared they would be killed!

The Royal Thai Police is a failed institution, operating more as a criminal gang than a police force.

But what about the rest of the bureaucracy which abet the police (or fear them)?

The “state-run Sawanpracharak Hospital, which issued a death certificate for the dead drug suspect, have defended their finding that ‘methamphetamine poisoning’ was the cause of death.” This after a “forensic examination.” Police told was “a private hospital that the man fell down and lost consciousness while he was running away from police who were chasing him during a drug crackdown.” Corruption? You bet.

How big is the corruption? Huge. Found at Pol Col Thitisan’s 60-million-baht house in Bangkok were 29 luxury cars worth more than 100 million baht. It is impossible that this great wealth could have been missed by anti-corruption agencies. After all, Ferrari Joe boasted about it on social media.

But, the hopeless NACC is now on the job, belatedly “probing the unusual wealth of Pol Col Thitisan…”.

A police source said Pol Col Thitisan wasn’t this rich from the beginning but he has built his own wealth out of some grey area businesses including trading edible bird’s nests while he was a deputy sub-division chief at Narcotics Suppression Division 4, overseeing drug suppression operations in the South.

The photos below are from the Bangkok Post, showing just some of Joe’s assets.

The story continues:

He later moved on to making money out of suppressing the smuggling of luxury cars and supercars in the South. He earned a lot of money from rewards offered for seizing such cars — 45% of the value of the car confiscated — and handing them over the Customs Department for resale through an auction….

Not bad for a cop earning less than 50,000 baht a month. But no one should bat an eyelid, for there are dozens of army generals, navy admirals, air force air marshals, and police generals who have declared unusual wealth to the NACC, and it has done nothing, zilch. That was in 2014.

So there’s a range of corrupt institutions. The NACC is at the pinnacle, rejecting any number of cases against the regime.

Thai Enquirer points out the obvious:

Somehow the Office of the Inspector General, the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) keeps missing these high-earning cops and generals.

Do we trust these organizations to investigate the case further? See if this is part of something bigger? Doubt it.

The NACC repeats is compromised inaction again and again. As The Nation reports, it can’t “reveal Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam’s assets…” despite being “asked by the Official Information Commission to reveal what assets had been declared by Prayut and Wissanu when they took office.” According to Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, NACC president, “the commission can only store information and investigate if there are any discrepancies, but cannot reveal details.”

But what about all those generals? Nothing. What about the fabulous wealth of convicted drug dealer/deputy minister Thammanat Prompao? Nothing.

Of course, “nothing” protects the “good people.”

And another related story. why is it that cabinet “approved the proposal by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to amend the prime minister’s order regarding the procurement of antigen test kits (ATK) by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO)…”.

That order “stipulated that the antigen test kit the GPO would purchase must be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by the Thailand Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

That’s now ditched so that Chinese kits can be purchased from Beijing-based Lepu Medical Technology. That contract is for about 600 million baht for kits “banned in the United States due to a high risk of false results.”

The regime is rotten to the core.

Update: The murdering cop story gets worse by the day by the actions of the most senior police. Those bosses are appointed by the regime because of their political positions and based on links to powerbrokers, including the palace.

Joe Ferrari has been taken into custody. As usual, he was not tracked down, but negotiated a surrender to police in one of the most corrupt jurisdictions, Cholburi.

Startingly, national police chief Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk, himself worth almost 105 million baht, then gave the murderer a national stage. In allowing the suspect to speak to the nation via national television, Gen Suwat appeared to support Pol Col Thitisan when he “said social media had been reporting that Thitisant was trying to extort the dead drug dealer so he wanted people ‘to hear what happened from the mouth of the person who had committed the crime’.”

Parts of Thitisant’s speech to the nation is reported in the linked post.

What was Gen Suwat thinking? Cod Satrusayang provides something of an answer, suggesting that Thailand is “an alternative Nazi-inspired universe”:

You see Joe Ferrari is one of the good people. Despite murdering an alleged drug dealer in cold blood, with a plastic bag, while his men held the guy down, he is a good person. Never mind that this is the kind of scene you’d expect to see in a Nazi movie, Joe is a good person.

You see Joe is a good person because he is a “relentless crime fighter,” because he volunteers with royalists, because he is polite and clean cut. He is a good person.

He is not a bad person like the unruly protesters who do not know their place, who dare to question the establishment.

He adds, that the contrast with anti-monarchy/pro-democracy protester Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak:

I was in the newsroom when police arrested Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak in the middle of the night, put him in an unmarked van, and sent him to a police station in the suburbs for processing.

There was no press conference, there was no fanfare, it was the Thai deep state working efficiently to suppress, gag, and detain those that would question the current establishment.

It was chilling, frustrating, Kafkaesque.

It made me question how I ever bought into the land of smiles lie, that Thailand’s paternal autocracy was built to work for and protect its people.

The regime is loathsome, rotten to the core, festering, bloated, and putrescent.





Investigating until the buffalo come home

18 07 2021

One of the ways to obscure real investigation is to establish a large number of “investigation” teams and committees so that nothing much happens, even if it seems that it is.

In that context, we wonder about a Bangkok Post report that yet another senior cop has been appointed to the case involving the “hit-and-run case involving Vorayuth Yoovidhya, scion of the Red Bull empire.”

It states that “Pol Gen Visanu Prasattongosoth, a police inspector-general, has been appointed to head a fact-finding probe into the alleged mishandling of the … case…”. His appointment was required because “one of the police officers to be questioned is a police general serving as a deputy police chief.”

That refers to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Manu Mekmok and concerns “his role as commissioner of the police’s Office of Forensic Science.” That’s where there’s been much alleged tampering with evidence and science.

Others set to be investigated are “Pol Lt Gen Tawatchai Mekprasertsuk, in his former capacity as commander of the Central Police Forensic Science Division; Pol Col Wiwat Sitthisoradej, in his former capacity as a narcotics lab officer; and Pol Col Viradol Thapthimdee, in his former capacity as a Thong Lor station investigator.”

Corruption goes to the top when it comes to purchasing “justice.”

The panel Pol Gen Visanu now chairs was “set up in September last year” but nothing much has been heard from it since then. Will there ever be findings from this or the other committees that will deliver real justice. We would hope so. But, after all these years and the influence of the rich and powerful, we are not optimistic.





Wealth, power and the corruption of justice

10 07 2021

With all of the virus stuff going on, we are a bit late getting to this post. However, as it concerns the seemingly never-ending saga of corruption and double standards in the judicial system, it merits a late post.

A few days ago, the Bangkok Post reported that all members of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) have been ordered to “sit on a newly formed panel that is tasked with investigating 15 senior police officers, prosecutors and investigators who mishandled the 2012 hit-and-run case involving Vorayuth ‘Boss’ Yoovidh­ya, the Red Bull scion who has managed to escape prosecution so far.”

Apparently, after almost 10 years, the case is officially considered “high profile.” We guess that for all of the previous nine years the case has involved the high profile but that the judicial system was doing its well-paid best to do deals to get Boss off.

Vorayuth Red Bull

An AFP photo clipped from ChannelNews Asia

NACC chairman Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit has also decided, after all these years,”that the investigation must be wrapped up in a timely fashion…”. Right. But, then: “As required under Section 48 of the National Anti-Corruption Act, the NACC must conclude the probe within two years. It will be allowed by law to extend the investigation for another year at most, if more time is needed…”. So that could be 2024…. Timely… not.

The report reminds readers that there are “currently two other committees probing the issue.” We figure that “probing” is an over-statement.

In an editorial, the Bangkok Post states that this NACC “investigation” is “welcome news.” It notes the damage the case’s cover-up has done to the judicial system: “The anti-graft body would do a great service to the justice system and country at large with a swift investigation. It should also make sure to avoid all the mistakes by other agencies that performed at snail’s pace over the past nine years.”

Well, maybe. Of course, the NACC has generally been hopeless on almost all the cases sent to it, “investigating” with double standards and political affiliation always in mind. The rest of the judicial system has been equally biased and corrupt to boot.

The wheeling and dealing has been huge. Even before the NACC commissioners got to “work,” it seems that “one member, Suchart Trakulkasemsuk, withdrew from the panel.” Why? Because as a member of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly “he had been a member of NLA’s subcommittee on justice and had received a petition from Vorayuth’s family…”.

It turns out that the fabulously wealthy and immensely powerful Yoovidhya family were “allowed 14 appeal attempts … which is unprecedented.”

The Post concludes with the obvious: “the suggested three-year period seems far too long, taking into account the fact the case had dragged on for nearly a decade.”





Still on the lam

16 06 2021

The 2012 hit-and-run case involving tycoon scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya of Red Bull fame, when he killed a policeman while driving his luxury sports car while intoxicated is back in the news.

The Bangkok Post recently reported that, after all these years, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is considering whether it mightlaunch an inquiry against at least 10 people for their alleged role in delaying justice…”. That means those officials who helped Boss and his associates tamper with witnesses and smooth his escape from the country to enjoy the high life on the lam.

It is not the NACC that has been investigating. According to spokesman Niwatchai Kasemmongkol it is the findings of an:

independent panel headed by former NACC member Vicha Mahakun [that] indicated a number of people, including several police officers and public prosecutors, played a big role in getting prosecutors to drop criminal charges against Mr Vorayuth.

That report was “taken up by a NACC sub-committee, which in turn recommended the NACC to launch a more detailed investigation into individuals which the Vicha panel believed had intentionally acted to derail the justice process.”

That’s the report. Will it do anything? Or is it just another stalling tactic? After all, as everyone knows, Vorayuth and his lawyers repeatedly postponed his court appearances before he fled abroad.

Vorayuth Red Bull

An AFP photo clipped from ChannelNews Asia

While Vorayuth was on the lam, “a speeding charge against him was dropped after its one-year statute of limitations expired in 2013…. Meanwhile, a second charge — failing to stop to help a crash victim — expired on Sept 3, 2017.”

Only a cocaine use charge and a reckless driving causing death charges remain. The former expires in September 2022 and the latter in 2027. Previously, the Office of the Attorney General had recommended dropping the reckless driving charge. It was the public outcry over that that saw Vicha’s panel put together.

Somehow, we feel that justice will never be served. In Thailand, for the rich, justice and injustice are commodities.





Red Bull wealth and the missing

28 11 2020

Remember the recent media kerfuffle over the cover-up over the hit-and-run case involving Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya? The big investigation confirmed what everyone in Thailand already knew: the police and justice system were doing all they could to ease things for the filthy rich Yoovidhya clan. The investigating panel found eight groups of individuals, including police, public prosecutors, members of the junta-installed National Legislative Assembly and other politicians, conspired and committed malpractice that resulted in the dropping of all charges against Vorayuth. Lawyers and witnesses gave false testimony. That’s how the judicial system works for the rich. This is the double standards that are normalized.

None of this has harmed the family.

The Guardian reports that “Red Bull has paid out more than €550m (£493m) to its founders, including the [Yoovidhya] family…”.

The company “has paid €211.4m in annual dividends to the family of Chaleo Yoovidhya, the drink’s inventor, who died in 2012” and €343m to Dietrich Mateschitz, Austria’s richest, who helped make the drink an international phenomenon.

The company “is registered in Austria as Red Bull GmbH” and “sold a record 7.5bn cans of Red Bull last year – almost one for each person on the planet.”

According to the report, “Mateschitz stills owns 49% of the company, while another 49% is shared by 11 members of Chaleo Yoovidhya’s family. The final 2% is owned outright by Chaleo’s eldest son, Chalerm.”

All that wealth was no doubt “useful” in getting the now failed cover-up in place. It probably also keeps Vorayuth living the high life wherever he is. Readers may have noticed that the trail has again gone cold, the regime is silent and the police are apparently ignoring the crime and the “investigation.”





Updated: Who paid?

9 09 2020

A Bangkok Post editorial claims “[t]he public was left stunned last week when the results were unveiled by Mr Vicha [Mahakun], a former national graftbuster” that investigated the “mishandling in the hit-and-run case involving Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya…”.

Frankly, we think that no one was stunned by the revelations but perhaps some were stunned that an investigation got close to the truth. Everyone in Thailand knew that the police and justice system were doing all they could to ease things for the filthy rich Yoovidhya clan.

That the investigating panel immediately found “eight groups of individuals who conspired and committed malpractice that resulted in the dropping of all charges against Mr Vorayuth…” confirmed what everyone had guessed.

That both police and public prosecutors were identified was no surprise but perhaps the accusation that “members of the junta-installed National Legislative Assembly and politicians of intervening in the investigation” are also identified might have been something of a surprise.

Then there were the expected conclusions that “lawyers and witnesses [gave] … false testimony…”.

It was, as most knew, “a conspiracy” for the rich extending over eight years. This is how the judicial system works for the rich. This is the double standards that are normalized.

The editorial hints at ongoing cover-ups: the panel cleared the prosecutor who finally dropped the charges. It was only after a public outcry that anything was done to reverse the downward spiral that favored a scion of the richest.

The next and most obvious question is: who paid and/or rewarded these officials to act in the interests of the rich? Will we ever learn the truth? Will those offering the payoffs be charged?

Update: Khaosod reports on leaked conversations between police and the public prosecutor. Published by Isra News, the phone conversation “discussed ways to amend the speed Vorayuth … Yoovidhya was driving when he … killed the policeman.”The classic bit:

“I kindly ask the commander since the prosecutor office wants to help. We want them to feel relieved. They intend to help as much as they can, so I want to ask you frankly.”








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