Thammanat cops more heat

11 10 2019

Thug, fake degree holder, liar, standover man, influential person, government minister, convicted heroin smuggler. Not if you still listen to Minister Thammanat Prompao. The BBC has reported that as late as 4 October, he was sticking to his quite ridiculous lies. Minister Thammanat reportedly states that:

… he did not plead guilty to the charge, but instead asked for negotiations between his attorney and the court.

He said he had not been involved in drug smuggling. He said at the time of his arrest, he did not have much experience or enough money to fight the charge….

Clipped from The Nation

At the time he did invoke the name of then Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.

The BBC went and had a look at the court documents in Australia, as the Australian journalists had already done, and confirmed the truth:

The court record showed that Manat Bophlom [the name Thammanat then went by] had admitted to the charge of conspiring to import a commercial quantity of heroin to Australia on November 15, 1993. The presiding judge handed down the verdict on March 31, 1994 and sentencing Manat to six years in jail.

The court said he would be eligible for release after serving at least four years of his sentence. Manat was deported from Australia after being imprisoned for four years in Sydney….

None of this is new. It is just that a second reputable news agency has looked at the court records and has found the newspaper account reliable and that, again, Minister Thammanat is proven to be a liar.

Meanwhile, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, which revealed Minister Thammanat’s involvement in a criminal conspiracy to import 3.2kg of heroin into Australia from Thailand reports that a Thai “parliamentary committee has vowed to ask Australia for details of a top cabinet minister’s criminal past after revelations he spent four years in a Sydney jail for heroin trafficking.”

Committee chair Seripisut Temiyavet is cited as promising “to use the committee’s authority to send an investigator to Sydney to examine court records. He will also send someone to Vanuatu as part of the investigation into Thammanat’s degrees, which are suspected to be bogus.” No need to “suspect.” Even if it were a “real” degree – which it ain’t – from a “real” university – which it ain’t – the plagiarism of half of a short “thesis” would make it bogus and demonstrate that Minister Thammanat is a cheat (although he may well lay the blame at whoever he hired to put his name on the bogus research).

Our first sentence was a little short. Add cheat to thug, fake degree holder, liar, standover man, influential person, government minister, convicted heroin smuggler. That’s Minister Thammanat of the junta’s Palang Pracharath Party.





Forgetfulness

1 10 2019

PPT is wondering about the “forgetfulness” that characterizes post-2014 Thailand.

Our wondering was partly prompted by Pithaya Pookaman, a regular contributor to Asia Sentinel. One issue is the awful standover man/MP/Minister/fraudster/former heroin trafficker/purveyor of fake degrees Thammanat Prompao. He’s gone very quiet and we assume that a bigger boss than him has told him to shut up. The advice is probably that quietness will see all that “trouble” dissolve. We previously mentioned that he would probably get away with his lies and deceit. He’s powerful, influential and well-connected. How many countries have convicted drug traffickers as ministers? But his sins can be “forgotten.”

Pithaya refers to “the farcical election in March 2019 that laundered the authoritarian power of the military junta under [Gen] Prayuth [Chan-ocha] into a shaky and unwieldly 19-party coalition…”. But what happened to the complaints about the election and the toadies at the Election Commission? Is that best forgotten? For the junta and its new regime, it probably is, but it seems stealing an election is not an offense when done by the military in 2019.

He also reckons that “the political conflict in Thailand is not between … the rich and the poor.” How quickly the basic facts are forgotten. We recall Amartya Sen’s confusing rhetoric on this, perhaps better forgotten. And it may be easily forgotten that back in 2007, per capita provincial GDP for the provinces that voted for the Democrat Party were more than 220,000 baht. For those voting for the People Power Party was just over 90,000 baht. It seems to us that those who gain most from electoral politics are those with the least.

Somyot and his money (or someone’s money)

Meanwhile, as China celebrates its nationhood, it was only a few days ago that Song Tao, the head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee met with Gen Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. It should not be forgotten that they reportedly “agreed to enhance cooperation between ruling parties for further development of bilateral ties.” Ruling parties…

Then there’s the long forgotten raid on the high-class Victoria’s Secret brothel. In recent days “[a]nti-human trafficking advocates [have been] calling on … Prayut[h] to look into a controversial decision to drop human trafficking charges against key suspects in last year’s Victoria’s Secret brothel crackdown.”

This involved underage women, including “services such as sex with virgin girls for which it charged customers as much as 100,000 baht as it was a ‘high demand service’…”.

The report remembers that “[f]ormer national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung last year admitted that he had borrowed “around 300 million baht” from [brothel owner] Kampol [Wirathepsuporn], whom he described as a friend.” It forgets to say that nothing at all has happened about Somyot’s corruption, his relationship with a sex trafficker and unusual wealth. Well, only unusual for regular people, not senior police who are mostly on the take and become seriously wealthy. Of course, Somyot was a big junta supporter and servant.

And, of course, there’s lots that is conveniently forgotten and some that’s forgotten because a lot of people are fearful of the power of military, monarchy, tycoons and other varieties of influential people.

There’s the case of Chaiyapoom Pasae, a kid shot and killed by the military and where that military has actively thwarted investigation.

Then there’s the bodies floating in the river, the disappeared anti-junta anti-monarchy activists, including men extradited to Thailand who simply disappeared. Can they really be forgotten?

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

Related, there’s the king. Do people really forget his missing missus? Do they forget the missing plaque and the missing monument commemorating the defeat of royalists?

But let’s not forget the protesters murdered by the military and never adequately investigated, in 1973, 1976, 1992 and 2010 (to mention just a few of the military’s murderous efforts).

There’s so much forgetfulness that any rational observer could only conclude that it isn’t forgetting but lying, covering up, maintaining impunity and great fear.

 

 





With two updates: Junta politics of influence, dark influence and murder

25 09 2019

A quick look at the English-language newspapers over the last day or so suggests that there’s more than a little poor journalism going on.

One was the report that “the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium, winner of the bid to build the 224-billion-baht high-speed railway linking three airports, will be told to sign the contract on Oct 15 or face a fine for failing to honour the terms of the bid.” That “ultimatum was decided upon … at a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who oversees the Transport Ministry, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, senior transport officials and the chief of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office.”

PPT has no brief for the Sino-Thai tycoons at CP, but we would have thought that someone at the Bangkok Post might have recalled that Anutin’s family are the major shareholders in CP competitor Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction. Perhaps it might have also been useful to note that the Chidchob family, Anutin and his father have been political bedmates for over a decade.

While on Sino-Thai tycoons, the Post reported that Viroj and Samrerng Suknamai, the parents of “former beauty queen and actress Nusara Suknamai,” have “filed a lawsuit with the civil court on Monday, demanding 300 million baht in compensation plus a 7.5% interest from the manager of Vichai’s estate and the King Power Duty Free company, which is owned by the tycoon’s family.” Nusara “died on Oct 27 in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium in Leicester…”. When all of the eulogies were for Vichai, at the time of the accident, BBC Sport Editor Dan Roan was in a spot of bother after being caught “talking about Vichai[‘s]… personal assistant Nusara Suknamai.” He correctly identified her “the mistress who died in the crash, otherwise known as member of staff, i.e. mistress… [of the so-called] family man [Vichai]…”. The report does indicate that the fabulously wealthy King Power lot have been pretty tight-fisted in dealing with the “other woman.”

The ruling class’s military-backed regime is anything but tight-fisted when it comes to buying support. Puea Thai Party chief strategist Sudarat Keyuraphan claims to have “an audio clip that would show that Phalang Pracharat had tried to lure …[14] Pheu Thai MPs by offering to pay them certain benefits.” Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan denied this. But no one should believe Gen Prawit. He’s got form on this, having bought up former pro-Thaksin MPs all over the country before the election. That included heroin trafficker and standover man Thammanat Prompao. Now, Gen Prawit needs “to prop up the government’s slim majority.” This wheeling and dealing is expensive and leads to all kinds of policies that are designed simply to raise money for political shenanigans. The media should be more active in pointing out that it is the military junta’s constitution that (re)created the capacity for such political corruption.

While considering the military junta’s corruption, look to the report that the “Parliament’s Anti-Corruption Committee is gathering evidence in a fact-finding probe against Public Relations Department chief Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd over accusations that he verbally and in writing ordered his subordinates to spread information allegedly helping the Palang Pracharat Party ahead of the March 24 national elections and attacking a former prime minister and his party.” Remarkably, the junta government’s former spokesman thinks that like a heroin smuggler, he can simply deny: “Sansern argued that he had never taken sides…”. Back when the junta moved Lt Gen Sansern to his position, the Bangkok Post observed that Sansern was in place to “control all government-run media and enforce censorship rules in the lead-up to the expected 2019 election.” While denying everything, Sansern ran back to the boss: “Sansern said he had briefed Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha about the case.” Of course he has.

And speaking of corruption, the National Anti-Corruption Commission is ever so careful when dealing with its masters the government. A report at The Nation advises that Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives from Anutin’s Bhum Jai Thai Party, Mananya Thaiset – yes, in there with Thammanat – “has not yet submitted her declaration of assets and debts to the anti-graft body within the required time frame…”. While the law requires all to declare their assets, NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon “said officials … would gather information regarding the matter and consider issuing a letter to Mananya requiring her to provide her reason for failing to file.” It gets worse as the NACC tiptoes around its masters: “If the NACC decided Mananya was required to submit the declaration, the NACC secretariat will issue a letter to notify her accordingly…”.

Back when the political dealing was in full swing, the Bangkok Post had a source who observed the obvious: “Because it receives a big budget, the ministry [of agriculture] can be used as a political tool…”. Money can be made, voters influenced and parties supported.And, as we know from the Thammanat case, “influential persons” get these positions because they are the party wheeler-dealers. And, Mananya is from a family of chao phor and chao mae. Not that long ago, her brother, Chada Thaiset, also a Bhum Jai Thai MP for Uthai Thani declared “I am an influential person.” Back in 2015 it was reported that. like Thammanat, Chada was considered a “dark influence”:

Crime suppression Division (CSD) police officers and commandos yesterday raided 11 locations belonging to alleged influential figures in Uthai Thani’s Muang and Sawang Arom districts.

Most of the targeted premises were those of former or local politicians. They included the house of former Chart Thai Pattana Party MP Chada Thaiset and a resort building under the care of Chada’s nephew.

The 200-strong “Yutthakan Sakaekrang” operation … seized 20 guns, four bullet-proof vests, two tiger skins, two pairs of wildlife horns and a clouded leopard carcass.

… the operation was part of the Royal Thai Police’s policy to suppress crime, crack down on influential figures and hired guns.

Then in 2017, it was reported that:

A former MP and four members of his entourage were released on bail on Sunday after being detained overnight for carrying firearms in public without permission.

Chada Thaiseth, a former Uthai Thani MP, reportedly has been on an official list of mafia-style figures.

More than 100 policemen, both in uniform and plainclothes, intercepted his convoy on a road in Uthai Thani province on Saturday afternoon.

Chada’s group was driving as many as eight vehicles and a search found several guns and illicit drugs in the cars.

A pattern? You bet.

Turning to the other side of politics, Khaosod reports that Nawat Tohcharoensuk, a Puea Thai politician was found guilty of “engineering the murder of a civil servant” and was “sentenced to death on Tuesday … [but] will continue serving as an MP for the opposition, his party said.” He’s appealing the verdict, so the case is not over, but even so, it might be considered prudent for him to step down. But with gangsters in the government, the opposition has them too. And a bit of reading suggests the modus operandi of a dark influence:

Prosecutors said Nawat hired two police officers to gun down Suchart Khotethum, an administrative official in Khon Kaen, in front of his home in 2013. Investigators cited romance-related vendetta as the motive.

And, just to finish off with state violence of the military kind, we see the remarkable report that “four red-shirt co-leaders on Monday … confessed to their roles in the violent protest outside the home of the late Privy Council president, Prem Tinsulanonda, in 2007.” Perhaps they confessed to get the case settled? Perhaps a deal has been done? We can’t help but wonder because Nattawut Saikua said:

he and fellow red-shirt co-leaders offered their apologies because the protest outside Gen Prem’s residence caused injuries among both protesters and police officers on duty.

“We are sorry for what happened,” he said, before insisting the red-shirt co-leaders harboured no grudge with the late Gen Prem.

No grudge? Why’s that? He was one of those who perpetrated the 2006 coup and egged the military on in 2014. He supported crackdowns on red shirts that resulted in deaths and injuries to thousands. He dis this for the military-monarchy alliance that underpins the ruling class. With all the royalist buffalo manure that surrounds this creepy general, there’s no criticism allowed. No one has asked about his unusual wealth, revealed when he finally died.

What a week it has been for a political system designed by the military junta.

Update 1: Legal eel and Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam declared Nawat’s “tenure as an MP was now voided, even though the appeal process was not finalised…”. He said the “constitution stated clearly that MPs lost their status when convicted of a criminal offence.” While we think Nawat should step down and while Wissanu picks and chooses which aspects of the constitution he adheres to, we are not so sure he’s right on this. All sections in the constitution relating to convictions refer to final judgements. Indeed, Article 29 offers a general protection to those in the legal process, stating:

A suspect or defendant in a criminal case shall be presumed innocent, and before the passing of a final judgment convicting a person of having committed an offence, such person shall not be treated as a convict.

Despite this, and the fact that “appeal is automatic in the case of a death sentence,” the House Secretariat is advising a ruling from the Constitutional Court. Of course, the judgement of that Court will probably follow Wissanu.

Meanwhile, in another case of twisted ethics (see those above), the junta’s Palang Pracharath Party is “likely to field Krungsrivilai Suthinpuak in a potential by-election despite the Election Commission (EC) having issued him with a yellow-card for attempted vote-buying.”

The junta’s 5 years seems to have yielded an administration of goons and crooks.

Update 2: Being ever so gentle and flexible with junta party allies, the NACC has decided that Deputy Minister Mananya Thaiset “must declare her assets and liabilities despite her insistence she is under no obligation to do so.” But she’s forgiven for “interpreting” the law incorrectly and can take longer to get her assets list in order before submitting it. Can anyone imagine such leniency for the other side of politics? Of course not. The Post believes Mananya is known “for spearheading a mission to ban toxic farm chemicals.” We think they are gilding it. She’s best known for being from a family of dark influences.

Chada Thaiseth’s convoy stopped by more than uniformed and plainclothes police on a road in Uthai Thani province in 2017. Clipped from The Nation.





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.





With three updates: Thammanat and Wissanu go deep in the swamp

14 09 2019

How low can Thailand’s current political crop go? Just how far are they prepared to sink into the squalid depths of lies, deceit and the ludicrous? It seems, like phraratchathanwearing hard-hat divers, they will go to the bottom, and perhaps even excavate a bit deeper than the muddy bottom of the political swamp.

The Bangkok Post reports Deputy Minister Thammanat Prompao, “known as the coordinator of the coalition government, has vowed to file around 100 lawsuits against those who he believes have lied about his past.” He’s no coordinator. He’s an enforcer and bagman for the “post”-junta regime and its Palang Pracharath Party. And we are sure that he does not “believe” that others have lied about his past. He is the one doing the lying about his past.

But, never mind, the junta’s political swamp is opaque, filthy and deep, and Thammanat is at the bottom already, so more lies won’t make much of a difference to the depth of his political chicanery.

Where he might usually send out thugs to intimidate critics – and that’s still on the cards in this marked deck – he’s taking a leaf out of the junta’s handbook of political deception and using the (in)justice system. And why not? It worked for them and it worked from him in the past on murder charges no less. It was only Last year that Thammanat was helping alleged fraudsters – where did all that Bitcoin loot go? And it was only a couple of years ago when Thammanat appeared on a junta “blacklist” of “influential criminal figures” drawn up for Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. Now he’s a minister in a government that Prawit helped engineer. Prawit now defends him!

Well maybe he’ll take the legal route. Much like Gen Prawit’s massive luxury watch collection “borrowed” from a (dead) friend, Thammanat might just be hoping that the whole heroin trafficking/fake PhD stuff might just go away. We seriously doubt that even this loud-mouth will take on 100 people in the courts.

On the PhD issue, Thammanat has again been supported by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who is getting deeper into the corruption slime by the day. Wissanu declared that “even if his degree was fake, Capt Thammanat could still be a minister because the constitution requires an MP to have only a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, which he already obtained from the army school.” Wissanu must know that Thammanat’s slime sticks and stinks. He seems prepared to accept anything: deception, lies, heroin trafficking, murder charges (okay, Thammanat got off that one, but an aide didn’t), fake credentials and probably a lot more.

Update 1: Thammanat seems to have finally decided on a political line that he will take in “fighting back” against those revealing his dark past. His line now is “that the series of accusations levelled against him by the opposition and on Thai social media were aimed at toppling the government.” He babbled:

“I’m not the target. As I have told reporters many times before, I am a key player in the formation of the present government because I was the one who handled the gathering of the required votes to back General Prayut Chan-o-cha to be the prime minister.”

He said those who were behind this multiple-pronged attack on him know that these controversies would shake the government and it would lose stability. “Their ultimate goal is to overthrow the government, General Prayut and General Prawit Wongsuwan.”

Like everything else Thammanat has done, he’s being deceitful. He is the target. But what he’s trying to shift the politics to a pro-/anti-junta debate. He wants all the yellow mob to rally to him and the government he claims credit for. He’s saying that drug trafficking, murder charges, lottery mafia accusations, fake qualifications and strange Bitcoin fraud connections are all best forgotten in “saving” the regime. Can this work? Probably. Many on the yellow side of politics has been captured by conspiracy theories.

Update 2: Like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wissanu has struggled to the surface, covered in slime, to mumble about Thammanat. He said something hypothetical about the convicted drug smuggler “could be removed from the cabinet if it is found that he has an ‘ethics’ problem…”.

Wissanu is speaking of a person who still claims to have never confessed, convicted or to have been jailed for several years. Given the court documents produced, Thammanat is showing himself as unable or incapable of recognizing or telling the truth.

Remember when both Gen Prayuth and Wissanu claimed that all cabinet members had been scrutinized? Now Wissanu has “admitted that Capt Thamanat’s educational background had not been examined prior to his appointment as a cabinet minister, noting the process could have delayed the formation of the government.”

We guess that his criminal past wasn’t examined either because it was exactly that background that the nascent regime needed in order to form its government.

Thammanat himself has gone in for more “explanation.” He says all of his “wrongdoings had already been exonerated by the 2007 [some reports have it as 2005] Impunity Act, making him eligible to be a cabinet minister.” Not bad. It is a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card issued to mafia figures.

Update 3: The story just gets better and better. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The embattled Thai cabinet minister who lied about serving four years in a Sydney jail on a drugs charge has changed his story again, admitting for the first time that he was sentenced in Australia.

After spending the weekend in a “war room” to combat a growing series of scandals, the legal team of Thai government enforcer Thammanat Prompao issued a statement insisting he was fully qualified to be an MP and cabinet minister….

Thammanat’s statement cited two Thai royal pardons among other evidence that his legal team claimed meant there was no impediment to serving as either an MP or cabinet minister.

Getting his name – he’s apparently had at least four – is tough, but getting a crooked story straight is even more challenging. So much so that Thammanat is now holed up in a hospital.





With two updates: Open-mouthed disbelief VI

12 09 2019

It just gets worse and worse. Thammanat Prompao’s lies and deceit multiply by the day. Now, some readers might think he’s just a dope rather than a convicted dope trafficker.  But this would be to misunderstand how the rich and powerful “think” in Thailand. The right to impunity is simply taken for granted that they seldom ever have to “think.” When they do, this is often because they have ticked someone even more powerful, and Thammanat still seems to have the highest backing.

By the way, police and military being involved in crime is common, as a case against a senior cop, reported today, confirms.

But back to things getting worse with the loose-with-the-truth Thammanat. The Bangkok Post reports on a parliamentary speech by Thammanat, where he’s gone the route of doubling down on his lies.

He now “insists he was not jailed in Australia in a drug smuggling case, nor did he confess to any drugs charge as claimed in an Australian newspaper report.”

Invited to speak by The Dictator, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, Thammanat went full on bonkers. The Post has an excellent graphic, which we reproduce here, but treating his “version” as in any way believable stretches credibility.

A Bangkok Post graphic

The report states that “Thamanat said he had spoken to the media several times about the 1993 drug case in Australia, and that he was treated as a witness in connection with a suspect who was later acquitted.” He unbelievably adds: “The Australian court suggested that as a witness he stay in Australia until the case was concluded, which took four years…”.

And he then played the injured party, saying that this had “happened more than two decades ago” and it had been “dogging him…”. He added that he “would take legal action against whoever was trying to defame him.” Really? Well, perhaps, anything is possible in Thailand’s (in)justice system.

Being “injured” is more often associated with Thammanat’s victims, in lottery politics and murder investigations.

We can’t help wondering if this case is somehow linked to a set of lese majeste accusations (clicking downloads a PDF) in late 1993 involving the then crown prince. Recall that in early 1993 the Vajiralongkorn was again publicly denying that he was connected with illegal activities (Far Eastern Economic Review, 14 January 1993), but that might be just a coincidence.

And, as an aside, the site associated with the Gen Prawit Wongsuwan watch scandal that was laundered, CSI LA, has revealed that Thammanat’s public CV includes a PhD from a sham university. Presumably Thammanat has a mai lorder, sham PhD.

Update 1: While the military-backed regime “seems pretty cool with convicted heroin smuggler in cabinet,” the Australian newspapers involved have responded to Thammanat’s bogus claims by publichsing extracts from his court cases in Australia and by creating a short video that lays out the “discrepancies” between what the minister claims and what the court records show.

Responding to “government enforcer” Thammanat’s incredible claim that “he spent eight months in lock-up but the rest of the four years in ‘state-sponsored accommodation’ as a witness,” the newspapers make it clear that he was jailed for heroin trafficking and being involved in the racket in Thailand and in Australia. As noted above, Thammanat again engaged in fictitious spinning when he “again denied pleading guilty then said he entered a plea-bargaining arrangement.”

The documents show this is utter nonsense and that Thammanat pleaded guilty and gained a sentence reduction by providing useful information to the police and prosecutors:

Court documents show the young soldier Manat and his co-accused half-brother Sorasat Tiemtad were arrested in Bondi on April 15, 1993, and charged with conspiring to import $4.1 million of heroin. When told by a judge in November 1993 he faced up to nine years’ jail, Manat began co-operating in return for a lesser sentence. He pleaded guilty on November 15, 1993, and was sentenced in the NSW District Court on March 31, 1994, to six years’ jail with four years’ minimum and a two-year non-parole period.

Interestingly, the newspapers add some information about the case in its most recent incarnation:

The Herald and The Age can also reveal that Thai opposition politicians sought information from the Australian embassy in Bangkok about Thammanat’s past legal problems, but did not receive assistance.

The Thai government has confirmed it sought information from Australia about Thammanat before his appointment in July, but did not say whether it was informed of his crimes.

The Australian Federal Police did not deny that it shared information with Thai counterparts about Thammanat’s conviction under the usual police information sharing arrangements between the nations.

Thammanat and his half-brother were “released from Parklea prison on April 14, 1997, and deported.”

The report notes that Thammanat would not be allowed to enter Australia: “The Home Affairs website warns: ‘You will not pass the character test if you hold a substantial criminal record. If you don’t pass the character test, you will not get a visa to enter Australia’.”

Update 2: Above we mentioned Thammanat’s fake PhD degree. Demonstrating that he knows nothing about his degree or where he purchased it, Thammanat proudly displayed his “degree certificate.” In showing off an “accreditation” certificate from a dodgy accreditation business that “accredited” a dodgy “degree” from a dodgy “university.

Thammanat stated: “I received the degree from US-based California University Los Angeles, not from the Philippines [as some claimed]…”. But he gets the name wrong. Apparently, his House website had to be quickly changed. It “showed he holds a  doctor of philosophy degree in public administration from Calamus International University’.” This was changed ” to show he obtained the same degree from California University FCE…”.

But this is not a university but a semi-commercial operation that “accredits” degrees for use in legal transactions such as immigration. Thammanat displayed a certificate issued by CUFCE. Thammanat paid a fee for or someone paid for him. No one studies for a doctorate at CUFCE.

That Thammanat doesn’t even know the details of his “degree” shows that his lies simply overwhelm him.





With two updates: Open-mouthed disbelief V

10 09 2019

It is now clear that having been an international heroin smuggler is no bar to being a minister in Thailand.

Indeed, several deputy prime ministers and the prime minister himself have supported Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao, a convicted drug trafficker. In common with the mafia-like Thammanat, most of those supporting him are military men, and used to operating with absolute impunity.

Gen Prayuth

In the Bangkok Post, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, speaking after a cabinet meeting, “said that he would no longer comment on legal cases against cabinet ministers because they had been clarified by those involved.”

“Clarified” seems to mean he accepts Thammanat’s all too obvious public lies.

Gen Prayuth, who relies on Thammanat as an enforcer in his coalition, told reporters to forget the story. He considered that they should look at previous governments and their faults and problems. As well, he “explained” that “all [current] cabinet ministers were subject to background checks.”

Background checks seem to count for far less than staying in power. Staying in power requires thugs like Thammanat.

Meanwhile, Thammanat himself seemed to believe that lies can be doubled down with more lies. He reportedly claimed that that “the Australian drug case had occurred more than 30 years ago and he had already clarified the matter.”

“Clarified” seems to mean he accepts Thammanat’s all too obvious public lies.

Thammanat, clipped from Khaosod

Despite the evidence sourced from the Australian court, “Thamanat insisted that he never confessed because he had done nothing wrong.” Wow! He went on: “He … dismissed as untrue the Australian report which cited court files.”

We assume that such lies are made on the basis of two beliefs. First that Thammanat reckons that Thais are a collection of morons who will believe any buffalo manure he serves up. Second, he expects to enjoy the impunity that is afforded to all big shots in Thailand.

Thammanat then further manipulated the truth saying he “was convinced that the report was written by someone in Thailand as part of a move to discredit the government, and had instructed his lawyers to prepare civil and criminal suits against those involved.”

Are police and military now in search of these evil people? Sadly, they probably are and will seek to frame someone.

Thammanat also threatened to sue the Australian newspapers that published the court reports. That seems like bravado and buffalo manure.

In Australia, The Age has an editorial (also in The Sydney Morning Herald) that says its “expose of the dark past of one of its [Thailand’s] new ministers shows the challenges facing its threadbare democracy.” It notes the role of the military and monarchy in crushing democracy in the country.

Thammanat is representative of both (or claims to be). As the prime minister and several deputy prime ministers have shown, he certainly represents this military-backed government.

Update 1: An anonymous correspondent tells PPT that one reason Thammanat is feared by journalists (and others) is because he has been seen to sport the loyalty logo that the king gives out to the most trusted and appreciated royal servants. We don’t know and the correspondent didn’t say, but assume it is this one (left). Army boss Gen Apirat Kongsompong sports one and so does Chirayu Isarangkun, Gen Prayuth and more. We haven’t seen this particular logo on the chest of the convicted heroin smuggler but the king link is in the stories, as told by Thammanat himself when he was busted.

Update 2: Watching television news and discussion shows today it is interesting that – at least in those seen – that while the Australian drug trafficking and Thammanat’s conviction and jailing was mentioned, it seemed the big deal was Thammanat’s denigration of coalition politicians. He’s Palang Pracharath’s fixer and in a recent interview likened his job not to a mafia enforcer but to a monkey trainer constantly handing bananas to his coalition monkey politicians. As a result, one micro-party pulled the plug on the coalition.

It still seems that the media is paralyzed by the threat of lese majeste and fear of the king.