Updated: Thammanat survives

22 09 2019

As might be expected from a regime that came to power by rigging and stealing an election, it seems that its “dark influence” minister Thammanat Prompao may have survived a week of crises that should normally have caused at least his resignation. But this is an era of neo-feudalism, where a fake educational qualification, a heroin trafficking conviction, murder and fraud allegations and a reputation as a mafia-like standover thug seem like perfect qualifications for the subordinates of the regime.

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

For a summary of the recent revelations of Thammanat’s many lies, see a summary article in the Sydney Morning Herald. The crooked minister also has a new Wikipedia page. The Nikkei Asian Review also has an account.

Update: A reader pointed out a Khaosod story on Thammanat as threatening to silence critics with law suits and then bailing out. Thammanat “had said he would file a libel lawsuit against Seri Ruam Thai Party leader Sereepisut Temiyaves at a court in Bangkok this morning [19 September], no representative from the embattled minister showed up. The attorney later said the lawsuit would not be filed today.” Probably not ever.





Prayuth’s hissy fit

26 07 2019

Khaosod reports that by his second day of dealing with parliament, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has had a hissy fit. He spat the dummy. He threw a wobbly. He flung a kibby. He soiled his nappy. Or, as the report has it, Gen Prayuth engaged in a “spectacular display of fury…”.

We at PPT predicted that The Dictator wouldn’t be able to stomach parliament for very long, but this head explosion came sooner than even we expected.

The report states that “Prayuth’s outburst came amid a particularly heated war of words between with Seri Ruam Thai Party chairman Sereepisut Temiyavet, who accused the government of “cheating” its way into power in the March election…”.

Poking Gen Prayuth, Seripisut stated: “If I were him, I wouldn’t be this shameless and still hold on to power…”.

Prayuth angrily responded that he would no longer consider Seripisut his respected senior. He then “slammed his documents on the desk before striding off, trailed by other government leaders like Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan.” Opposition MPs jeered the General.

Seripisut was then expelled from parliament. Prayuth remained angry and nasty. He won’t take this for very long.





…and on and on

26 04 2019

For a while, everyone was waiting to see if the Ombudsman would recommend nullifying the “election,” the Election Commission continues to chip away at the result.

It didn’t. Oddly, though the Ombudsman decided “to ask the Constitutional Court to rule whether some provisions of the MP law involving the allocation of party-list MPs are constitutional…”. Yes, they are asking again, after the Court rejected the EC’s petition on this.

Confused? So is PPT. We are not sure of anything much at all about this “election” and its results. Perhaps the whole thing is some kind of charade?

What is clear is that the EC is continuing, ever so slowly, to chip away at the result of the junta’s “election.”

For example, the EC seems to be taking seriously a complaint lodged against the qualifications of Seri Ruam Thai Party leader Pol Gen Seripisut Temiyavet. Surawat Sangkharuek accused Seripisut “of lacking the qualifications to apply to be an MP candidate” because he was once “temporarily dismissed from the police force in 2008 during the Samak Sundaravej administration.”

Of course, Seripisut has been critical of the junta and joined the coalition announced with Puea Thai after the election.

He “shrugged off the petition and described the individual who sought the probe as a ‘hired gun’.”

Meanwhile, the EC is going ahead with its party list count that rewards micro-parties and the junta. Doing this risks never-ending law suits.

The EC insists, despite seemingly contradictory statements, that it will confirm a 95% result on 9 May.

It’s a mess.





With 3 updates: The junta, The Dictator and campaign cheating

5 03 2019

The Bangkok Post made interesting reading today, with a string of stories about the junta, The Dictator and campaign cheating.

First we had the godfather of Palang Pracharat, Somkid Jatusripitak campaigning for General Prayuth Chan-ocha. As a minister and state official, we think this is against the law. We don’t expect the tame and junta-appointed Election Commission to lift a finger to put Somkid in his place.

Campaigning, Somkid declared, as he has previously, that “I am very confident Gen Prayut will [return to power] to continue the mission, and you [investors] will be able to participate in shaping Thailand’s future…”. He went on to describe the government’s performance as “outstanding.” That’s the government he serves. Perhaps he doesn’t mean the two stalled rail projects (here and here).

Going full campaign mode, Somkid attacked other parties: “Amid all the daydreams [of other parties’ political campaigns], the government’s achievements are real and concrete…”, and called for votes for the junta’s party: “Thai people are not stupid. They saw what happened over time so I’m confident Gen Prayut will certainly make a comeback.”

He campaigned at a state-funded event organized by the Board of Investment.

While Somkid crashed through the rules and laws his own junta established, another Deputy PM, Wissanu Krea-ngam babbled that The Dictator-PM “will have to be neutral” when he campaigns for Palang Pracharath and himself. This is utterly nonsensical because it is an impossibility, as demonstrated already by the junta’s pouring of funds into campaigning.

It was Wissanu who, not that many days ago, declared Gen Prayuth ready to run, stating that the PM-junta head “is not considered a state official…”. He said that because the junta’s own charter “bars state officials from running in the election.” As a Post journalists observes, “[r]ight after the comment by Mr Wissanu, the PM’s Facebook page changed his profession from ‘state official’ to ‘public figure’.” We recall that the junta’s EC was “investigating” this, but we don’t expect to hear any more as its master has spoken.

Then we found two articles about further moves to neuter the Future Forward Party. It seems that the junta and associated royalists have become very worried that the party may do much better than they had anticipated in the upcoming junta election. Indeed, the junta seems petrified.

So it is that the performing seal called the EC has heard royalist activist Srisuwan Janya’s petition that Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Unlike cases against Palang Pracharath, “Manoon Wichiannit, the director of EC’s investigation office, issued an urgent letter to Mr Srisuwan inviting him to testify in the case at the EC headquarters…”.

At the same time, Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn also known as Big Joke, and a confidante of Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, “in his capacity as deputy director of Thailand’s Action Task Force for Information Technology Crime Suppression (Tactics),” summoned Future Forward’s deputy leader Lt Gen Phongsakon Rotchomphu “to meet police investigators over his role in sharing fake news about Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Facebook.” It was the junta that filed the police complaint.

Clearly, the junta and The Dictator are not going to allow Future Forward to do well at the polls. Harrasment of this nature is pretty much standard procedure for the junta.

It is for the military as well. Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong is on the hunt for anti-military and anti-junta words from election campaigners. He is sending out hundreds of soldiers to intimidate and spy on anti-junta parties. That command was issued by the junta.

Remember when he said he was going to be neutral? That lasted about 3 seconds. We don’t expect the EC will do a thing to insist that state officials remain neutral.

The spying on parties quickly came to a head when former national police chief Seripisut Temiyavet “produced a photo of a soldier he said was stalking him on the campaign trail.” He lambasted the Army boss, saying “it is not the job of soldiers to follow politicians or other citizens.”

“This has nothing to do with national defence,” he said adding that military “commanders should be acting to protect the country, not concerning themselves with the people.”

Gen Apirat, as is his penchant, went ballistic. As secretary-general of the junta, he ordered “staff to file [several] … complaint[s] against Pol Gen Seripisuth, leader of the Seri Ruam Thai Party.” One for insulting the “military decorations on Gen Apirat’s uniform during a recent exclusive interview with a newspaper…”. Apirat then, like other royalist scoundrels, upped the ante on this by saying that some of the decorations were “royally-bestowed.”

Apirat also order the junta “legal team to file a complaint against Pol Gen Sereepisuth for alleged violation of the computer crime law by posting the remarks made during the interview on his Facebook page.” And just to round things out, Gen Apirat ordered the “legal team … to file a third complaint, this time for allegedly defaming a soldier assigned to ‘observe and ensure his safety’ [that is, spy] while Pol Gen Sereepisuth was campaigning … on March 4.”

It is clear that Gen Apirat is waging a political campaign that is going beyond anything seen from the military for several decades.

In a related report, linked above, the police in Khon Kaen have said that they are “working closely together with the provincial office of the Election Commission (EC) to ensure security in all 2,637 polling stations in the province during the run-up to, and casting of ballots in, the election.” So far, so good, but then the cat was expelled from the police kit bag:

the local police and the local EC office are jointly conducting a surveillance programme to watch out for any violations of the election laws…. We are also keeping an eye on certain groups who may be plotting to stir up unrest during the election period.

No prizes for guessing which parties and people are being watched and spied on.

Quite a series of reports. Free and fair elections. Ha!

Update 1: The Dictator and his devil party have had second thoughts about Gen Prayuth appearing in Korat. A Palang Pracharath source said: “After we discussed the pros and cons, we came to the conclusion that it might not be worth it. So we [the party leadership] will stick to presenting our policies to voters…”. Gen Prayuth said he feared “being targeted by his opponents.” They would have sought to disqualify him for exploiting his position for his devil party. Indeed, they already are. Prayuth doesn’t want to allow them to force the EC’s hand.

Update 2: Future Forward has responded to recent attacks, including some not mentioned above. Pretty well everyone knows that several groups, including the junta itself, are seeking to reduce the party’s appeal and set it up for dissolution.

Update 3: Further to state agencies and officials engaging in politics, Chiang Mai provincial police have been found “conduct[ing] politically related surveys…”. We can be pretty sure that officials, getting people’s names and other identifying information under the guise of “surveying” are doing this to intimidate.





Updated: Targeting The Dictator

15 02 2019

At least two legal moves that target the prime ministerial candidature of Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha for Palang Pracharath are in the works.

The Nation reports that a “[p]ro-red shirt lawyer Winyat Chatmontree has … petitioned the E[lection] C[ommission] to consider disbanding the Phalang Pracharat Party, whose founding, he alleged, had outside influence.” That “outside influence” is identified as The Dictator. Winyat argues that the party is essentially a creation of the military junta and Gen Prayuth.

Winyat argued that the EC should “disqualify Prayut as a candidate for the post-election premiership because he is the incumbent premier and head of the National Council for Peace and Order and thus a state agent, and as such is legally prohibited from seeking any ministerial post.” He’s referring to section 98 of the junta’s constitution.

Winyat poked the EC, saying that it should make its decision speedily, as it did in the Thai Raksa Chart case, and thus avoid being seen to apply double standards. Doing otherwise, Winyat said, could see the EC “accused of being negligent in their duty.”

Meanwhile, as reported by the Bangkok Post, former policeman and leader of the Seri Ruam Thai Party, Pol Gen Seripisut Temiyavet:

… will ask the Election Commission to disband the pro-regime Palang Pracharath Party for nominating the man who seized power in a military coup as its prime ministerial candidate.

Pol Gen Seripisut said:

 I’d like to ask Khun Prayut: You seized power from someone else. Although you’ve been granted a royal pardon, is your action deemed hostile to the constitutional monarchy?

He also urged the EC to be evenhanded in making an expeditious ruling.

As a puppet agency, it would seem unlikely that the EC will act against The Dictator. After all, the “investigation” of Palang Pracharath’s banqueting case has conveniently been “forgotten.”

Update: Thai PBS reports that Winyat’s petition was made for the Puea Thai Party.





Updated: Held, supported and undefeated

24 05 2018

As we write this post, those anti-junta activists arrested at and near Thammasat University are thought due for release after being held longer than expected. The police say they intend to hold them longer. The courts are due to decide.

Meanwhile, as The Nation reports, there has been an outpouring of support for the detainees.

Local and international organizations calling on authorities to release the anti-junta/pro-election protesters arrested on Tuesday:

[a] dozen activists, led by the Democratic Restoration Group (DRG), were arrested and charged with sedition which carries a maximum seven-year prison term, and with violating the military junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than five people.

Several activists and politicians visited them in detention. They included “Thanathorn Juangroongruan-gkit of Future Forward Party, former police commissioner Pol General Seripisut Temiyavet, and representatives of the Pheu Thai Party.”

The former top policeman offered bail for all the detainees. However, “they had not been granted bail at press time last night.”

Updated: The 15 detainees were released on bail after police requested further detention from the court. As one declared: “Down the dictatorship. Long live democracy.”





Watch Seripisut

23 11 2015

A couple of days ago, PPT briefly mentioned Seripisut Temiyavet and the military junta’s attack on him for his comments on military corruption.

We think he’s worth watching for a while. In the past, he was often said to be a palace favorite. When the military took over in 2006, Seripisut was made acting and then Police Commissioner and became a member of the junta’s Council for National Security. He was not always “reliable” as police chief and was even accused of lese majeste at one point. His relationship with Prem Tinsulanonda is sometimes described as “good” but he has clashed with the grand old man.

As a story at the Bangkok Post notes, Seripisut is seen to be on the “yellow” side of politics.The story states that he “generally supported the 2014 military coup and government takeover.”

Thus, it seems significant that the military junta has targeted him and that he has responded by challenging “authorities to prove his charges of high-level military corruption are wrong…”. He added, in a speech: “But I will tell you that those military people will never prove me wrong.”

The military regime charges him with sedition for his comments on the Rajabhakti Park project. This project and its acknowledged and then denied corruption is challenging the junta and Seripisut is a target meant to be on the junta’s side. Splits and conflicts are always damaging.





Army air freshener

20 11 2015

The Army thinks that a bit of air freshener can eliminate the odor of rotting fish. They are wrong.

SpraySeveral sprays of freshener have been applied to the pile of pungent gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals. First, the military has been blaming others.

Second, they have been repressing those who dare to speak out on the topic. In recent days we have seen Anusorn Iamsa-ard, Acting Deputy Spokesperson of the Puea Thai Party called in for “a discussion at the 1st Army Region Division in Bangkok” after he criticised a “statement of Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the Defence Minister, about the construction of Rajabhakti Park, a royal theme park featuring gigantic monuments of seven prominent past monarchs in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province of central Thailand, which was rife with corruption.”

Then we saw the junta raiding a television station and filing charges against former national police chief Seripisut Temiyavet and for “hosting a TV programme called Siang Seree (Seree’s voice) in which he criticised the NCPO…. Pol Gen Sereepisuth earlier said the military needed to reform itself before trying to reform the police force, and alleged there was widespread corruption in the armed forces, including in the Rajabhakti Park project in Hua Hin.”

Third, the Army “investigation” team has discovered that the Army is, in fact, virginal, squeaky clean, untainted and good. As Khaosod reports it: “An internal review into the billion-baht Rajabhakti Park found no evidence of corruption, army chief Teerachai Nakwanich announced today.”

Nothing. Not a thing. Even the self-admitted scams by former Army boss Udomdej Sitabutr weren’t found: “Following media reports and statements from the former army chief confirming financial irregularities involving overpayments and dodgy commissions paid to middlemen, Gen. Teerachai said inspection of budget and accounts of the project found no such irregularities in the project.” Nothing. Not a thing. Teerachai said: “There is no corruption. Every procedure is transparent…”.

No one will believe them, but this gang has guns and holds power. They can even get away with murder. So a bit of corruption is nothing.

Because the Army decided the Army is good, there “is no need to ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the project…”.

No one will believe them.

Not even our predicted scapegoat, Col. Khachachart Boondee, is accused of anything.

Then things got really strange.

Khaosod reports that “Army officials also did not allow media present to broadcast the news conference live, without stating a reason.” When he was asked “if the army would open the books to for the public to see how money was spent, Teerachai provided extremely odd responses: he “said that would be dangerous.” He then opined: “You want people to die for this? You want me to execute someone and their entire family for this? I mean, we have to look at their intention.” He also declared that the budget for the project was confidential.

The notion that this project is in “dangerous” areas raises interesting questions. Is someone higher up involved? Is that the reason it is dangerous? Is the military covering up for someone else? Or is he just doing a bit more of a freshening spray so that the trail of corruption is more difficult to follow?





A country for old men?

22 09 2009

Also available as ประเทศนี้สำหรับคนรุ่นเก่าหรือไง

With so much happening in Thailand’s politics in the past few weeks, it has been difficult to keep up. Seeing the bigger picture is a challenge.

Following our retrospective on Thailand three years after the 2006 palace-military coup, where we attempted to be positive, we now offer some observations regarding the current situation.

We begin with the police chief debacle. Why has this appointment been so drawn out and so conflicted? Of course, there are the related views that Thaksin Shinawatra controls the police or that the police support Thaksin. Another view is that there was a tug-of-war going on between coalition partners. There is truth in both perspectives. However, PPT suggests that there is more to this dispute.

Reports suggest that Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda (b. 1920) is at work. We won’t go into great detail for Bangkok Pundit has collected some of the comment on the police chief saga and most especially on the latest debates on who should get the job, including from ASTV/Manager and the Bangkok Post (17 September 2009: “New twist in police drama”) where there were guarded comments “new influential players.”

Police General Jumpol Manmai, the “alternative” candidate is known to be close to Prem and The Nation (17 September 2009: “Top Cop : Deadlock remains”) had stated that Jumpol “is known to have very strong backing outside the Police Commission, and lobbying was said to have reached fever pitch in the past few days.”

So is it Prem who is lobbying? Probably. Why? We suggest it is because, for some years, the palace and Privy Council have been trying to get increased control over the legal system. There has been a heightened urgency to this in the battle to root out Thaksin and his “regime.” Retired judges have been brought onto the Privy Council.

In what has clearly been a deliberated strategy, five of the last seven appointments to the Privy Council have been from the courts. The odd ones out were Admiral Chumpol Patchusanont (Former Commander of the Royal Thai Navy) and General Surayud Chulanont, who was appointed after he left the army and stepped down to be premier appointed by the military and then went back to the Privy Council when that guest appearance ended.

The former judges on the Privy Council are: Sawat Wathanakorn (appointed 18 July 2002 and a Former Judge of the Supreme Administrative Court); Santi Thakral (15 March 2005, Former President of the Supreme Court of Justice); Ortniti Titamnaj (16 August 2007, Former President of the Supreme Court of Justice); Supachai Phungam (8 April 2008, Former President of the Supreme Court of Justice); and Chanchai Likitjitta (8 April 2008, Former President of the Supreme Court of Justice and Minister of Justice). That so many judges are appointed send a clear message regarding intent. The king’s speeches to judges confirm the palace’s intentions. That such links to the judiciary have been put to use in the battle against Thaksin is seen in the ample evidence of meddling in the courts.

The palace has also been keen to have its people at the top of the police. In recent years, Police General Seripisut Temiyavet was said to be a palace favorite. When the military took over in 2006, Seri was made acting and then Police Commissioner and became a member of the junta’s Council for National Security.

At about the same time, long-time palace favorite Police General Vasit Dejkunjorn, once the Chief of the Royal Court Police for the Thai royal family, was put in charge of a review of the police force. At the time, this was reported as an attempt to clean up the notoriously corrupt force and to break Thaksin’s alleged political hold over it. As late as just a week or so ago, the Democrats had Vasit look into corruption in the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority.

Michael Montesano says this of Vasit: “Briefer of CIA director Allen Dulles during the latter’s late-1950s visit to Thailand, veteran of anti-Soviet espionage in Bangkok, long the Thai Special Branch’s leading trainer in anti-Communist operations, and palace insider at the time of his country’s most intensive counter-insurgency efforts, Police General Vasit Dejkunjorn ranked among Thailand’s most important Cold Warriors.” His own background in the shadows of the Cold War did not prevent him from being of an office holder at Transparency International in Thailand. Vasit remains a warrior for the palace in his columns in Matichon and as a royalist speaker. For a very short time Vasit was deputy interior minister for Chatichai Choonhavan being raised from his position as deputy police chief.

Vasit is 79 or 80 (thanks to a reader for this information), been “retired” for years, but keeps popping up in strategic locations. His political views reflect the position of the palace. For examples of his royalism and extreme views, see here and here.

Meanwhile, over at the Democrat Party, at present it seems that chief adviser Chuan Leekpai (b. 1938) is the power behind Abhisit. In recent years, Chuan has been increasingly outspoken in support of Prem. In recent days, Chuan has become the link between Prem and the government. For example, just a few days ago, as PAD fired up on Preah Vihear, Prem became involved, with the Bangkok Post reporting that “Gen Prem is reportedly concerned about the possibility of tensions spinning out of control if it is not attended to properly. A source said former supreme commander Gen Mongkol Ampornpisit, one of Gen Prem’s closest aides, paid a visit to Chuan Leekpai, the former prime minister and chief adviser of the ruling Democrat Party, at the party’s headquarters in August, to convey Gen Prem’s concern over the border developments.” The Post considers that Prem’s concern nudged Abhisit to send Foreign Minister Kasit to arrange a broadcast “assuring the Thai public that the country has not yet lost a single inch of land area in regard to the Preah Vihear dispute.”

As PPT shown in recent postings, Abhisit has been promoting increasingly nationalist and royalist causes. We won’t detail all of this again, but it is clear that Abhisit is not stupid. His emphasis on right-wing, conservative and nationalist strategies is a reflection of the views of his strongest backers. We see this backing as involving Chuan, Prem and the palace more generally. It seems Abhisit doesn’t have much support within his own party, so this backstopping, is keeping him in his position, has to be acknowledged. So Abhisit, with the support of important and highly conservative and royalists, adopts measures that hark back to a darker past.

Of course, the recently launched project called “Thai Unity” reflects the views king (b. 1927) and currently in hospital. His call for “unity” is a conservative refrain heard since the days when the king feared he might lose his throne to communists.

Abhisit’s calls to nationalism and patriotism may seem anachronistic and even dim-witted but they are an accurate reflection of the fact that the conservatives are bereft of new ideas. Hence, we have loyalist Anand Punyarachun (b. 1932) promoting nonsense like the interview with Stephen B. Young, the “Patronizing White Man With Degree Reassures Thai Elites With Unexamined Rhetoric” upon Thailand and believing that he makes sense and has something to say. What he actually says is that these old men haven’t a clue what the new Thailand is about.

The result is that all they can do is fall back on projects that are emblematic of the military-authoritarian governments of past generations.

Related, the huge effort to protect Prem in recent days is also to be understood as a part of this conservative project (see here and here).

Add in the remarkably expensive efforts to “protect the monarchy” through the use of lese majeste and computer crimes laws and the debt to the elders adds up to a government that is becoming increasingly conservative, more repressive and is normalizing authoritarianism.

While PPT points to this authoritarian slide, we also celebrate and support the courageous struggles of those within Thailand who continue to speak out even as they are watched by the current surveillance state. In 1997, Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi urged those outside Burma to “Please use your liberty to promote ours.” Comparing the current waves of royalism and the increasingly repressive Democrat Party-led state to the Burmese military regime would be factually incorrect and politically dangerous, yet there seems a determination to take Thailand back.

Thailand is now at a precipice between, as we noted in our coup anniversary post, the potential for deepening democratization, and the potential for unbridled repression at the hands of state, para-state, and royal actors. It is important to continually observe and criticize repression, and call for justice – especially for those jailed by repressive laws and those awaiting trial. A democratic Thailand will be a place where these old authoritarian men have a place, but it won’t be a place that celebrates their anachronistic ideas through government programs that enhance repression.

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Controlling the police

6 08 2009

As PPT readers know, there has been considerable political wheeling and dealing concerning Police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan. Now Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has appointed a stand-in while Patcharawat is on leave. Well, maybe he’s on leave. He showed up for work even after a caretaker police chief had been appointed.

The Nation (5 August 2009: “PM names caretaker police chief”) reported that Police General Wichien Potposri has been appointed. The Nation reports that Wichien is seen as “relatively impartial in handling politically related events so there is a chance that he could be made national police chief once Patcharawat retires.”

The Bangkok Post (4 August 2009: “PM appoints acting police chief”) reported Abhisit as saying that he had appointed Wichien “based on his seniority and appreciable work record.”

A couple of points to make here. First, as Bangkok Pundit notes, Wichien was previously head of the Office of the Royal Court Security Police. Second, under the military-backed government of privy councilor-cum-prime minister Surayud Chulanond, Wichien was responsible for working with provincial governors to “curb possible violence throughout Thailand.” In other words, he worked with the junta – the Council for National Security – to crack down on potential demonstrations opposing the military-backed government, including limiting the freedom of movement of rural people. During the 2007 general election, he was “in charge of advance balloting.”

All of this means that the Democrat Party is appointing a trusted policeman. Why is this so important?

One answer is to look at PPT’s post on Chai-Anan Samudavanija, the PAD ideologue, who says that the “police are 100% for Thaksin and the red shirts.”

Another answer lies in the promotions and seniority problem Abhisit is trying to deal with. This is why the “prime minister … said a police reshuffle list under the new organisational structure of the Royal Thai Police Office would be put on hold. He would rather leave the list to be finalized by the next police chief. Pol Gen Patcharawat is due to retire at the end of September.” This is also why Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has “ordered the Police Commission to a meeting soon to review the list, which involves high-level police officers. Mr Suthep denied a report that the reshuffle would be reviewed because some officers were not satisfied that they were excluded, saying it was only a rumour. He insisted that no politicians had interfered in the making of the list.”

That would seem highly unlikely, but Abhisit and Suthep need to avoid such allegations as such interference is unlawful.

Abhisit and Suthep are trying to prevent the rise of Police General “Prieopan Damapong, a deputy national police chief, who is the senior-most officer. However, Prieopan is the older brother of Pojaman, the ex-wife of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and is current on assignment at provincial police units.”

In other words, impartiality has nothing to do with these actions. Rather, the aim is to appoint political allies and try to take control of the police.

This was tried before, when Seripisut Temiyavet (originally Seri Temiyavet) was appointed under the CNS, but who was not always politically reliable and got into trouble over lese majeste issues..