Updated: Failed, failures, and lies

14 05 2021

It is reported that yet another anti-government political prisoners has the virus. According to lawyer Noraset Nanongtoom, his client Panupong Jadnok has tested positive while in prison.

Panupong has been refused bail several times since being detained on 8 March 2021for lese majeste and other charges resulting from an anti-government/anti-monarchy rally on 19-20 September 2020.

And, he’s only one among thousands who are now infected in a hopelessly underfunded and overcrowded prison system.

After activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul was bailed and revealed she had contracted the virus in prison, Corrections Department director-general Aryut Sinthoppan was forced to finally confirm that there were 2,835 infections in two Bangkok prisons.

This is information that was apparently being kept secret! We say this because the department has previously declared it had “stringent health screening measures in prisons.” It said this when activist Chukiat Saengwong got the virus in detention.

At that time, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said that “five field hospitals in the grounds of Klong Prem would have a total of 500 beds. They would treat new inmates who tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at any of seven prisons.” He was fudging. Prisons already had virus infections, with one report of infections in a northern prison.

Now it turns out that “1,795 prisoners at Bangkok Remand Prison and 1,040 at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution to be infected with the coronavirus.” According to the Corrections Department, there were 3,238 prisoners at the Bangkok Remand Prison as of May 5 and 4,518 at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution. To save readers the math, that is over 24% at the former and over 23% at the latter.

Director-general Aryut has made the quite ludicrous statement that “he considered the number of infected inmates to be small when compared to the number of infections throughout the country.” He’s either mad or seeking to cover-up. Impunity should not be permitted in his case. He’s failed and should go.

Update: And, now, the lies.

Lie no. 1: “The Corrections Department admits that the Covid-19 outbreak in prisons is worrying, but insists it can bring the situation under control.” With a quarter of inmates infected, this seems like a lie to us, especially when a boss there states “the Medical Correctional Institution may not have enough medical personnel and equipment to deal with so many cases.”

Lie no. 2: Deputy director-general Weerakit Harnpariphan “denied a report that protest leader Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul, who was released recently, caught Covid-19 in prison. A test on April 23 confirmed she was free of the disease…”. She was released on 6 May. Another report states that from 23 April to 5 May, Rung was in “quarantine.” Weerakit adds that “Panusaya did not go outside the prison or engage in any activities before her release on May 6th.” In other words, she got it in prison.





Further updated: Three more 112 complaints

2 03 2021

Thai PBS reports that the Corrections Department has lodged lese majeste complaints with police, “seeking legal action against a group of people who torched the portrait of … the King in front of Khlong Prem prison early Sunday morning.”

An official cabal of 112 accusers was composed of Justice (yes, we know, there’s no real justice when it comes to king things) Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, Director-general of the Corrections Department, Ayut Sinthoppan, and Pol Col Panudet Sookwong, deputy commander of Second Division of Metropolitan Police Bureau.

Somsak said there are “three suspects, two men and one woman, after they examined footage from the CCTV system in front of the prison, which shows a white MPV at the scene at about 3.10am Sunday morning.” He added that the three had been tracked down “and further investigation shows that the trio have political connections…”. He did not explain.

We are reminded of earlier 112 arson cases.

The Bangkok Post reports that they will also be charged with ” charged with arson, trespassing on state property…”.

Somsak ordered tightened security and warned officials to “never let a similar incident happen again.” That should stand as a call for the burning of royal portraits across the country.

Update 1: We should have added the observation that the Bangkok Post decided headline arson charges rather than lese majeste cases. The Post is becoming an ever less reliable newspaper because of its bending to royalism. We think there are now 62-63 persons charged with lese majeste is the latest round of anti-royalist repression.

Update 2: Reports soon appeared that one of those being tracked by the police was Chai-amorn Kaewwiboonpan, better known as Ammy The Bottom Blues. There was considerable apprehension when Ammy was reported arrested on social media but saw police denying this. Later, it was confirmed that he was arrested in Ayutthaya. He now faces several charges:

The charges carry severe penalties — 5-20 years, life in prison or death for arson; 3-15 years for royal insult; and five years each for trespassing on a state office and for computer crime.





Prawit is the natural leader of mafioso

23 06 2020

The “news” that everyone knew was coming is now out. Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has “accepted” his nomination as leader of the junta’s Palang Pracharath Party, the party that he mostly formed and has directed throughout.

As the Thai Enquirer puts it, “[h]is ascension to the party’s highest post will pull back the loosely held curtain that had been in place for the better part of the last decade and shine a spotlight on Prawit’s central role in Thai politics.”

In fact, the title of this post is from that newspaper, which says: “To Palang Pracharat, with its patchwork makeup of local mafiosos and provocateurs, Prawit is the natural leader.”

Emphasizing this, the gang that crawled around the aging and sick general “to extend the invitation were Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, Deputy Finance Minister Santi Prompat, Education Minister Nuttapol Teepsuwan, Minister of Digital Economy and Society Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao, Messrs. Paiboon Nititawan and Anucha Nakasai.” Local thugs, convicted crooks, moneybags who buy the party’s votes and MPs, and coup plotters.

They slithered around him at his office at a metropolitan Army base. Of course, it is the Army that provides Prawit with the accoutrements he’s used to after his years as a military manipulator.

As Thai Enquirer explains:

Prawit has been the mastermind behind not only the military coup of 2014 but the turbulent nature of Thai politics since the Abhisit government stepped down.

While Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has served as a ready ‘puppet’ … it has been Prawit that has been the brains behind the operations. [PPT does not consider Gen Prayuth a “puppet.” He’s worked hand-in-glove with Prawit and Anupong.]

Prawit is, after all, the spiritual leader of the military faction known as ‘Burapha Payak (Tigers of the East)’ or the Queen’s Guard military unit.

Burapha-aligned Generals like Prawit, Prayut, Udomdej Sitabutr and Anupong Paochinda have played a central role in orchestrating, from behind the scenes, much of the political upheavals since the PDRC protests [which they helped organize and motivate].

All four men have served as head of the army.

They control the regime and this move simply strengthens their control as the regime looks to years and years in power. Next, a cabinet reshuffle is needed to reward Prawit’s minions.

 





Further updated: Yes, really

17 06 2020

We read this jaw-dropping news with nothing more than incredulity. We simply could not believe the story. How is it possible for this regime to think that every Thai citizen is a complete moron? Why does the regime treat its people as so insignificant? Of course, the answer is that the regime and its people are used to impunity, getting away with murder and considers itself a law unto itself.

Here’s the story, from the Bangkok Post: “Former transport permanent secretary Supoj Saplom has been appointed as a member of a sub-committee tasked with studying an industrial estate for rehabilitation and development of inmates just months after completing a jail term for filing false asset declarations…”.

The responsible minister is Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin. He said “he had invited individuals from various professions including former senior state officials to give their input on the proposed establishment of the facility.”

Supoj was “released from prison in the middle of last year after serving 10 months for filing false asset declarations…. The Supreme Court … [found] he failed to declare assets worth over 20 million baht.”

Supoj. From the Bangkok Post.

But there’s more to the story than this. Readers can click through to PPT’s several posts on Supoj. The last time we posted on Supoj, we said that we were “winding up of a story that began some time ago.” Little id we think that Minister Somsak would push Supoj back into “service” and into the news.

The original story of Supoj’s ill-gotten gains involved fantastic amounts. In late 2011, as huge floods bore down on Bangkok, Supoj’s house was burgled. At the time he was permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport and chairman of the State Railways of Thailand and was in that position under the previous government. Earlier he was Director of the Highways Department. Such positions are honey holes for the corrupt.

A report at the time stated that while Supoj was at his daughter’s wedding, a dozen burglers tied up two maids and took off with loot. Supoj told reporters that “the valuables taken by the robbers were not in fact worth much, though they also took cash. He believed the robbers heard about his daughter’s bridal price so they wanted to steal it.” Soon after, there was a report that one of the culprits “allegedly confessed to stealing more than 200 million baht in cash from the house of transport Supoj Saplom.” That’s quite a bride price!

But the story became even more interesting. One of the suspects claims “that when the gang entered the house, they found between 700 million baht to 1 billion baht in cash stuffed into bags.” Supoj responded, pleading poverty, claiming that the burglars were defaming him! He explained that he “was smeared by the suspects who claimed he might have hidden as much as Bt1 billion at his home,” adding, “… I don’t have that much money…”.

Even the police seemed to agree: “Police Major General Winai Thongsong, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said that CCTV videos of the robbery showed the group leaving the house with large bags, indicating that a large amount of cash had been stolen.”

Later, in 2012, as he scrambled for excuses for being so stupendously “unusually rich,” Supoj claimed “he earned the millions of Baht working a second job…”. He began shifting assets to relatives as investigations loomed. At the time, the Anti-Money Laundering Office “revealed that money found in the transport permanent secretary Supoj Saplom’s home is related to construction contractors in the Northeast – including one from Buriram province – which were involved in the bidding for construction contracts on government projects in several provinces.”

But, by the time the case reached the National Anti-Corruption Commission and then commissioner Klanarong Chanthik announced a seizure of some assets. He was convicted when the “Civil Court ruled in January, 2014, that 46.14 million baht in assets should be seized from Supoj and his family for being unusually wealthy.”

Then there was the verdict of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders holding Supoj guilty “of deliberately avoiding to mention Bt17.5 million in cash and a Bt3 million Volkswagen in the declaration of his assets on five occasions.” Yes, the millions claimed to have made Supoj “unusually wealthy” led nowhere. It was expunged, deleted, and was made to go away, like magic. All Supoj was convicted of was a problem with his asset declarations. It was whittled down because the suspects who were arrested only had “Bt18 [17.5] million in cash and gold ornaments…”. How convenient. He got 10 months in jail and the 18 million was seized. It took seven years to get Supoj into prison to serve that 10 months. It was only this year that the 17.5 million was given to the state treasury. We have no idea what became of the other 46 million baht.

More to the point, what happened to the bags of money the burglars claimed to have taken? Readers can probably come up with some excellent guesses on that. But presumably one could think of cops getting their hands on it (think Saudi gems), corrupt officials and judges, influential people or even much higher ups being paid off.

Okay, as a former inmate, perhaps Supoj has something of a perspective on “an industrial estate for rehabilitation and development of inmates,” but somehow we doubt it. It seems much more like paybacks or a mutual backscratching exercise.

So here we are, with a military-backed government that not only has a convicted heroin smuggler as a deputy minister, but it’s also appointing a man who may hold a national record for moving state funds into private hands.

Update 1: While dealing with the corruption being embedded in the regime, we note that the Department of Special Investigation’s acting chief has disbanded six special investigation teams that he set up only about six weeks ago. The teams were responsible for investigating money laundering via illegal casinos, misconduct by Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed companies, factories causing environmental and public health damage and producing substandard cosmetics or dietary supplements, land encroachment and unlawful land title deeds, and and price collusion involving state projects. Almost all of those arenas seem to have resonances for the regime’s ministers. Is it a coincidence that these events are in Justice Minister Somsak’s ministry?

Update 2: The Bangkok Post reports that the private sector Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand has “submitted an open letter to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, voicing opposition to the appointment of Supoj Saplom … to sit on a sub-committee tasked with studying a project for rehabilitation and development of inmates.” The report noted:

The ACT said in the letter that the constitution of Thailand bars people who lack morality, ethics and good governance from taking part in the country’s administrative affairs.

Since people expect the Justice Ministry to be a model for righteousness and justice, it should appoint only people who are not tainted with corruption to work for it, the letter says. The appointment of Mr Supoj violates this principle.





The Dictator and Palang Pracharath

24 12 2018

The Dictator and his junta are continuing to campaign for its Palang Pracharath Party.

For reasons that can only be described as an electoral stunt rather than a state policy, a 41-billion-baht budget was used for the “One Million House” campaign, a one-day-only loan offer. As applicants “raised doubts over why authorities gave them only one day to take advantage of the offer,” the Election Commission should be investigating. It won’t be because it is in the junta’s pocket.

It came as Palang Pracharath claimed its candidates – almost all from former Thaksin Shinawatra parties – would sweep the north in the election. Interestingly, as the party rallied people, it “praised various military government initiatives such as state welfare cards for the poor, the allowance for village health volunteers and new minimum pension rates for retired officers.” Many of these “policies” have been wheeled out in recent days to support the devil party.

Repaying the favor, the party’s Somsak Thepsuthin, campaigning in Phitsanulok declared Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, The Dictator, the coup leader, the current self-proclaimed prime minister, part of the campaign. Somsak stated: “When the country is run by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, we are in peace…”.

Helpfully, those attending were provided with “placards supporting Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to return as the premier after the poll…”.

With Prayuth having campaigned for months and to now be the poster biy for the devil party, all notions of fairness may be dispensed with. The junta is now directly engaged in political campaign events.

Most other parties aren’t even very actively engaged in campaigning as the official decree has not been approved.





Updated: The Dictator in full campaign mode

5 12 2018

The Dictator has been campaigning for some time. He’s been campaigning for his own transition from military dictator-cum-prime-minister at the head of a military junta to military-backed dictator-cum-prime-minister at the head of a regime produced by the junta’s rigged election.

That campaigning has increasingly come to mean stumping for the devil Palang Pracharath Party and any other mini-party prepared to support his and the junta’s transition. It is no accident that the Palang Pracharath Party is organized and headed by members of the junta and its cabinet who see nothing wrong with such cheating.

In recent days, however, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s campaigning has gone to a higher gear. Not long ago Palang Pracharath “unofficially” declared their support for The Dictator as its preferred dictator into the future. At the time PPT commented that this declaration meant that Gen Prayuth is the de facto leader of Palang Pracharath and that each time The Dictator has his regime throw more money after votes, he does it for his party.

Meanwhile, Gen Prayuth has continued with his buffalo manure dissembling, saying he’s not sure which party he might allow to campaign for him to be premier after the rigged election. Everyone in the country knows he had his men set up Palang Pracharath as his vehicle for the “election.”

However, he did say: “If I am approached, I’ll consider any party which works in sync with what we’re doing now…”. Ipso facto, Palang Pracharath. That party is unlikely to “win” a majority, so Gen Prayuth also needs other like-minded anti-democrat parties. As The Dictator put it: “What I have in mind is that I will support parties which steer the country with a strategy. If other parties have better strategies than the PPRP, just present them…”.

In the last few hours, The Dictator has moved from the phony campaign to the real campaign, with a “giant billboard next to the main highway in Ratchaburi province” that promotes Gen Prayuth as prime minister.

Naturally enough, others have complained that Gen Prayuth is cheating and flouting his own law. Even the media notes that the billboard “appears to be an obvious violation of the order by Gen Prayut’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that forbids all electioneering.”

Our immediate thoughts were not only that The Dictator is openly cheating – he’s been doing that for years – but that he or one of his minions seem to feel that Britain’s embattled premier, Theresa May, is the best advertising for a military dictator. For all of her faults, she at least faces a real parliament and comes from an election. She has also been shown to be subject to the rule of parliament. None of that fits Thailand’s military leader.

The criticism of The Dictator has caused Palang Pracharath’s Somsak Thepsuthin to complain that “certain political parties of dividing public opinion by attacking Gen Prayut for trying to prolong his stay in power.” He was unhappy that The Dictator was in any way criticized.

That’s a possible pointer to the future, where a Palang Pracharath-led government would “protect” Gen Prayuth. Expect more corruption, more repression and efforts to insulate The Dictator.

Update: It is now reported that the The Dictator’s  campaign poster has been removed. This comes as the Election Commission states that it is “investigating” the poster for contravening some law or a junta decree. Nothing serious should be expected of the puppet EC.





It’s not news

7 11 2018

Thai PBS has a story informing its readers that:

Former MP and a core leader of the Sam Mitr (Three Friends) group Somsak Thepsuthin announced on Tuesday that he and other members of the group will join the pro-junta Palang Pracharat Party at its general assembly on November 18.

Who didn’t know this? The date may be “new,” but the story is months old. From the time that the junta revealed its recruitment drive under the banner of this group of political chameleons, everyone knew this was happening. It i all a part of a plan or a strategy for “winning” the rigged election.

Somsak forgot his lines, saying that in the groups campaigning, “he was impressed with the warm welcome given to the Sam Mitr group by the people during its recent visits to several provinces.  He said the feedbacks [sic.] gained from the people during the visits would be incorporated into party policies.”

Yes, that’s the party that his group is saying it will join. It’s already there. The junta’s subterfuge is all rather too obvious and probably illegal.





Keep on campaigning

20 08 2018

The military dictatorship keeps declaring political campaigning is illegal. It cracks down on some parties, but not so much on its buddies. And, of course, The Dictator campaigns as much as he wants.

But such double standards have caused some grumbling as the junta has allowed the so-called Sam Mitr (Three Traitors/Friends/Allies) to go about its work of gathering up politicians to stand for a junta-backed party.

This caused a “warning” from Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda. But that “warning” amounts to little.

As the Bangkok Post reports, the “trio of political heavyweights,” which includes current minister Somkid Jatusripitak, probably acting illegally, busy “lobbying former MPs to back a new junta-aligned party” hardly missed a step.

Somsak Thepsuthin said he and his allies would continue campaigning, but “away from the public limelight.” He said “we will avoid being in the news and giving press interviews…”. As that was said in an interview, that claim seems daft.

In any case, Gen Anupong’s “warning” was contradicted by Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, who said “he saw no problem with Sam Mitr lobbying politicians in northeastern provinces because it was not a political party.”





“The Dictator forever” (and the money will flow)

27 07 2018

The catchy header at the Bangkok Post’s website for its story on the so-called Sam Mitr recruiters of MPs for the junta is: “The Sam Mitr group explodes officially onto the political scene, backing Gen Prayut as leader indefinitely for allegedly bringing peace to the streets.”

Somsak Thepsuthin, one of the “Three Friends,” spoke of his great appreciation of Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Of course, Somsak has a history of forming tiny parties and then supporting military dictators and “strong” leaders, like Thaksin Shinawatra. He also has a history of seeking personal and family benefit from such arrangements. Such arrangements have often been tainted by corruption. The money helps lubricate coalition-making.

As was seen in his defection to the Bhum Jai Thai Party in 2006, he’s also been quick to jump from one powerful group to another when he sees political and economic advantage.

He has stated that:

… “Gen Prayut has turned the country around by ending the colour-coded political conflict…”.

“… Gen Prayut made all that go away although [his rise to power] was out of the ordinary…”.

“If we look at it carefully, we’ll see he [Gen Prayut] has restored happiness to us. Supporting him makes for an interesting choice of action to take,” he added.

That loud sucking sound is not unusual. Somsak has been remora-like in his support of military dictators in the past and his forays into electoral politics have been for his personal and family advantage and for his military patrons.





When the military is on top XXIII

4 07 2018

With a military dictatorship in place, double standards are the only standard and lies become standard practice. Of course, many people and governments omit, fib and tell so-called white lies, but when lying is a defining characteristic of governance, it is a pathology with untruths being habituated. When lies overwhelm truths, those who are lying construct an (un)reality that is itself an untruth. A military dictatorship uses its its puppet agencies and institutions to collaborate in its unreality.

So we might not be surprised when the military junta rejects any notion that it engages in double standards in its “treatment regarding ongoing moves by a pro-Prayut[h Chan-ocha] political group wooing former MPs into its fold.” That’s a lie, but one that you would expect from a regime seeking to rig an “election.”

But then “[k]ey government figures also denied any involvement with the group of veteran politicians who are calling themselves “Sam Mit” (Three Friends).” This is going too far, creating an unreality, bending and breaking its own laws.

The Three Friends group, also called the Three Traitors, are Suriya Juengrungruangkit, Somsak Thepsuthin and Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. It is widely known the three are working for the junta and for The Dictator. We know this because a couple of them have said so and they have been seen bringing former MPs together in large meetings (which the junta bans for other parties). They support Somkid’s formation of the junta’s Palang Pracharath Party.

But then junta spokesman Maj-Gen Piyapong Klinphan lies that the junta “was making sure the politicians complied with relevant NCPO orders.” He also lies: “We have to take action against any violator…”. This is an unreality.

Then, Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan lies, saying “I am not biased at all…”. If he wasn’t biased, he would not be rigging the election, he would not have managed a coup and he would not have detained and jailed hundreds of political opponents. His lies get even bigger when he says “that he did not know Suriya personally.”

Somkid also lied when he “denied any involvement with Sam Mit, saying that he knew nothing much about the group’s moves.” That’s the most unreal of lies. He’s truthful when he says “[t]hey are my friends…”.

Lies are become normal when the military is on top.