Lese majeste convictions in Ying Kai case

19 11 2016

For some months PPT has been following the so-called Ying Kai case, which came with accusations of lese majeste. That case continues while spinning off four other lese majeste cases.

Those four cases are reported in the Bangkok Post.

KamolthatThe first involves Kamonthat Thanathornkhositjira or Kim-eng Sae Tia, 62, a half-sister of Ying Kai or Monta [Montra] Yokrattanakan. With others, she was accused of criminal plots, fraud and lese majeste. Kamonthat was first detained on 26 August 2016. She was accused of fraud and falsifying documents, and with alleged links to lese majeste offenses, presumably those Ying Kai stands accused of. She is claimed to have invoked the so-called royal institution in a scam that allegedly swindled more than 3 million baht from victims. However, other, much larger figures, are also mentioned in some reports.

Sounding very similar to earlier cases of claimed lese majeste fraud, such as the Pongpat group and that associated with the now deceased Mor Yong, police also raided a Lat Phrao Soi 60 condominium and searched three luxury units for further evidence related to lese majeste offenses. The search reportedly found valuable items like antique porcelain, ivory tusks, swords, statues and amulets. Documents and some “valuable items” bearing royal emblems were collected by the police raid team.

The list of offenses grew and grew, with the alleged crimes taking place between 1 November 2010 and 16 March 2014. On 18 November 2016, Kamonthat was sentenced to a total of 150 years on 33 charges. Her jail term was reduced because of her confession. As the maximum jail term is 50 years, that’s what the Criminal Court gave her when declaring her “guilty of lese majeste, fraud, falsifying documents and invoking the royal institution.” These accusations include “making fake documents purported to be from the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary and conning people to contribute money for royal kathin ceremonies.”

[PPT is not aware of this last “crime” or that it was not covered under Article 112. We would welcome any advice on this from readers. We suggest using the comments facility here and we will not post the comment and will delete it.]

Kamonthat was sentenced along with and alleged accomplice Sak Siriyakhom, 50. Other alleged accomplices are Pol Lt Col. Ekkasit Thanathornkositjit, 68, and Taworn Puanprathum [sometimes Puangpratoom], 66, who have opted to fight the charges.

Sak received 144 years on 31 charges. The two were also ordered to repay “5.14 million baht to the damaged parties,” a trifling amount in anything associated with the royal house.

There is obviously much more going on in these cases than the press reports – for fear of Article 112 – and questions remain about whether this alleged fraud was, at one time, sanctioned by some royal figure and that these persons managed to alienate that figure, resulting in punishment. We just don’t know. Of course, the lese majeste law is much about limiting information that involves royals.





Updated: More Ying Kai-related lese majeste cases

1 09 2016

A while ago PPT created a page for the Ying Kai lese majeste case. It seems we need to create another three pages for new cases being brought against Monta or Montra “Ying Kai” Yokrattanakan’s elder sister, an official – nor “former” official – of the Royal Household Bureau, and another man, still to be arrested.

The Bangkok Post reports that both Ying Kai’s sister Kamonthat “Kim-eng” Sae Thanathornkhositjira and former Royal Household Bureau employee Taworn Puangpratoom are both accused of being members of an “alleged … criminal plot,” fraud and lese majeste.

Kamonthat, aged 62, was detained a few days ago. She was accused of “fraud and falsifying documents, with alleged links to lese majeste offences.” Police raided “a condominium building on Lat Phrao Soi 60 in Bangkok where they searched three luxurious units for further evidence related to lese majeste offences.”

She stands “accused of invoking the royal institution in a fund-raising scam that swindled more than 3 million baht from victims.” The search reportedly “found many valuable items including antique porcelain, ivory tusks, swords, statues and amulets. Documents and some valuable items bearing royal emblems were also found.”

(This all sounds like the reporting of the Pongpat case and that of Mor Yong.)

The police are “examining the royal emblems to determine if the items are fake. If evidence is found that she had cited the royal institution as alleged, police would press additional charges of breaching Section 112 of the Criminal Code…”.

The second person being investigated is Taworn, aged 66, who was “detained” on 29 August 2016, at his home in Huay Kwang. Taworn was charged “as an accomplice of Ms Kamonthat.” He faces “allegations of fraud and falsifying documents in a scheme involving lese majeste offences.”

The arrest of Taworn is “seen as a significant breakthrough in the case.” What is significant is that he “worked at the [Royal Household B]ureau’s Royal Chamberlains Division (Chitralada Palace)…”.

The Criminal Court also approved a police request to arrest “another man, identified as Somsak Siriyakom, who is still at large. Mr Somsak faces the same charges as Mr Taworn.” We do not know if he was also employed in the royal household.

Several people “have  lodged official complaints with police that they were conned by the alleged Kim-eng scheme. They include an army major-general and a colonel.” The “scheme” seems to have involved taking donations after a television program where Kamonthat lauded the monarchy.

The police claim “Kamonthat’s network” was larger than the three who have been named so far.

This case, along with several others, suggests massive corruption has riddled the royal household, probably for many years.

Update: Khaosod reports a somewhat ambiguous police claim: that Taworn “dressed himself to look similar to an official from the royal palace to fool victims into believing that Mrs. Kim Eng was someone close to people in the high circle…”. He did work for the Royal Household Bureau.








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