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Navy officers with Rohingya boatpeople on the Andaman coast in 2008

Expose Bank Details of Honest Thai Officers

Monday, September 21, 2015
PHUKET: Human trafficking charges against a Royal Thai Navy commander allege that he extorted large sums from police stations along the Andaman coast of Thailand for his silence, Phuketwan can reveal today.

It is believed the commander allegedly turned a blind eye and seldom intercepted vessels containing boatpeople - then allegedly claimed money from those who did intercept the boatpeople to hand them to traffickers.

Charges laid against Commander Kampanart Sangtonggeen and three Army captains only enlarge the scale of the alleged trafficking off Thailand's coast by officials wearing several different types of uniforms.

The Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, and the Commander in Chief of the Army, Udomdej Sitabutr, have called for full investigations of all human trafficking issues.

Phuketwan believes all senior officers who have held positions along the coast and in the south over the past five years should now voluntarily open their bank accounts to the scrutiny of investigators.

As the recent victims of false claims of criminal defamation and computer crimes made by one or two misguided officers misusing the good name of the Royal Thai Navy, Phuketwan journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian believe the opening of bank accounts to scrutiny is the only way innocent officers can be completely cleared.

''The network of corruption involving boatpeople has involved many billions of baht,'' Morison said today. ''The way for Thailand to now clear its name is to open the bank books of everyone involved to establish their innocence.

''This is something that all good officers should be prepared to do, voluntarily.''

A Phuket Provincial Court judge dismissed all charges of criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act counts against Morison, Khun Chutima, and Phuketwan's business parent, Big Island Media, on September 1. The Royal Thai Navy has 30 days in which to appeal.

The charges concerned a 41-word paragraph reproduced on July 17, 2013, on Phuketwan directly quoting a Reuters news agency paragraph, word for word. Reuters was not charged and failed to act in defence of the paragraph written by its journalists.

The paragraph was contained in a series on the Rohingya boatpeople that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2014.

Commander Kampanart, while a member of Royal Thai Navy 3, led patrols along the 600 kilometres of Thailand's Andaman coast, a popular destination for many years for Rohingya traffickers' vessels from Myanmar (Burma). Navy statistics show very few of these vessels were apprehended.

Those that were met by Navy ships were usually ''helped on'' to a third country and given food, water and other aid on the promise that they would not land in Thailand.

The three Army officers named over human trafficking charges at the weekend are Colonel Nattasit Maksuwan, Captain Wisut Boonnark and Captain Santad Peatnoi. Major General Manas Kongpan is also being held without bail on human trafficking charges.

Morison, an Australian, says fighting the law suit by the Royal Thai Navy cost him $60,000 to $100,000 in lost income. Phuketwan is due to close on January 1.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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I am guessing it is not possible to counter sue the Thai navy commander for defamation and loss of wagers? Or simply not worth effort and waiting another 2 years for a suit such as that to come to fruition.

Posted by Scudman on September 21, 2015 09:17

Editor Comment:

You are guessing, Scudman, that we would want to use bad laws.

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here we go again....you won the case now stop taking about it it is boring....concentrate on your retirement and give us all peace and quiet

Posted by Steve Smith on September 21, 2015 10:28

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Steve,why do you not yourself stop reading Phuketwan?

Posted by Bob on September 21, 2015 11:47

Editor Comment:

People who are as thick as two short planks ignore the obvious, Bob. Steve is not bright enough to understand the word ''corruption'' let alone figure it could affect his life, too.

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Phuketwan, Alan, Chutema; please do keep fighting corruption. Pay attention to all ways and all forms of ways in which Greedy abusers are active. Please support all in need off pulkic awarness of these ways of power abuse and who are victims or corrupted official.

Posted by phuketgreed on September 21, 2015 12:09

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Most corruption can be found if people are Audited.

Which anyone can do at any time, but doesn't seem to happen.

Posted by Tbs on September 21, 2015 12:54

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Dear Ed

You have apparently demoted Manas Kongpan to Major General once again. He is in fact a Lieutenant General and was wearing the 3 stars of a Lt General at the time of his arrest.

I like the rest of your story though.

Your favourite fact check Nazi..
Ian (:

Posted by Ian Yarwood on September 21, 2015 13:54

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Dear Ed

Great call for military officers to expose their bank details.

Some high net worth individuals might have good explanations for their wealth but unexplained wealth certainly deserves investigation.

If a Vice-Admiral has over 100 million baht that should attract attention from Navy Intelligence and the Royal Thai Police.

I think that you might have demoted one other military officer. According to the Bangkok Post, Nattasit Marksuwan is a Colonel not a mere Captain, so there were two Captains and one Colonel involved in this latest story.

I note that you do not intend taking legal action against the Royal Thai navy but it certainly seems highly appropriate for the Navy to apologise to Khun Chutima to you and to Phuketwan.

It takes character to admit when one is wrong. I hope the Navy starts to redeem itself by doing so.

I note that pro-democracy advocates have been critical from time to time of Prime Minister Prayuth but, to his credit, he has made some efforts to combat human trafficking where previous civilian governments did little to nothing.

Posted by Ian Yarwood on September 21, 2015 14:17

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Bob

I read phuketwan like I read the Beano when i was a kidits funny !
Occasionally they do report good facts of news around tge region but motof the time they focus on thereselves - moderated- alan Morrison - I like phuketwan but really concentrate on news not old news the court case was done a couple of weeks ago until next time - thick as too short planks Alan I doubt it I own a muli million pound business and a few million pound houses worlwide without being as thick as too short planks !!

Posted by Steve smith on September 21, 2015 14:26

Editor Comment:

it seems I was quite right. You're not bright enough to read this article and know what it's about, are you, Steve? And you think money makes you intelligent . . .

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Maybe a silly question being this is Thailand:
Ed,After your acquittal did all those high powered lawyers ask for costs?

Posted by david on September 21, 2015 15:40

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Alain - Get a real job !

Posted by Steve smith on September 21, 2015 16:10

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Steve,
I hope you get the team to perform in Bangladesh with a few more ton's but pound for pound, shouldnt be a problem.

Posted by MoW on September 21, 2015 16:48

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Ian, what has Nazi got to do with this, different time, different place. For a lawyer in WA I expect more.

Posted by I am pretty far from ok on September 21, 2015 17:21

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IMO the pivotal factor for allowing corruption to flourish in Thailand is the lack of an effective IRS, Internal Revenue Service.

If there was a genuine will to catch the corrupt, all you'd have to do is to follow the money.

How can a civil servant on a Bt 50k salary afford a Bt 10m car and a Bt 25m house ?

Back home the IRS would be all over me if I (or anyone) came in to possession of such expensive items. If my officially declared income does not explain such purchases, the items or properties would be seized until such time I can satisfactory explain the legal origins of funds used to purchase them.

Over here nobody bats an eyelid in the hope that if they turn a blind eye, their turn on the gravy train will come soon too.

Tax authorities should have direct access to all bank accounts without any special permits needed. Hiding Bt 500m is a LOT more complicated if it's in Bt 1000 bills instead of on a bank account.

Posted by Herbert on September 21, 2015 17:40

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IAPFFO,
Its just an obvious typo. Should have been a fat cheque nazi.

Posted by MoW on September 21, 2015 18:15

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Expose bank details and punish those who are corrupt.
Frequently we see that corrupt officers are moved to another post, this is not a punishment for wrong doing

Posted by Paul on September 21, 2015 18:19

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@Misunderstanding(I am pretty far from OK)

You may need to learn first of an idiomatic expression grammar nazi,then you'll understand derivatives.

Like 2/3 of my friends are of Jewish origin, incl.few exGFs,so just to let you know my comment above is well-measured and appropriate, if you'll decide to react from that end..

Posted by Sue on September 21, 2015 20:02

Editor Comment:

Indeed. People are free to make jokes where they find humor, unless the joke Nazis stop them.

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That takes "balls" to publish what you folks do - and you'll do it right up to January 1.

That's why so many of us respect and Love Phuketwan - its sometime "crusty" Editor and other journalists.

I can't blame you one iota for being like that sometimes Alan. Look at what you have to deal with.

A lesser man would have packed it in long ago - but the old apple didn't fall too far from the old tree now did it?

The warrior in your father lives on in you Editor.

And "Hats Off" for that. We also know you'll take no bows at the end. That's why they lost.

Posted by farang888 on September 21, 2015 23:29

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Is my english so bad or is Sue = Ian? Shocking revelations indeed.

Posted by Lena on September 22, 2015 00:38

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From Khaosod:

"Defense Minister Pravit said the campaign against trafficking will embrace as many international principles as possible.

He stopped short of saying those implicated would face criminal prosecution.

We have been neglecting the problem for too long. From now on, officials will give importance to this matter, he said. Those involved in human trafficking will be transferred.

The complicity of naval officers was the central issue in a recently dismissed defamation case brought by the Royal Thai Navy against two journalists with online news site Phuketwan."

Posted by Sue on September 22, 2015 03:13

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Dear Ed

I will certainly miss Phuketwan with its cross-section of crazy and witty comments.

You DO publish some excellent stories that are too often tarnished by the electronic graffiti in the form of comments from trolls and other grumpy readers.

The replies to I'M PRETTY FAR FROM OK (AKA THE JOKE NAZI) saw me laughing into my iPhone last night.

Some time ago when you told me that I was being discussed on Thai Visa Forum (aka the Mensa Club of Thailand) I discovered that one member asked whether I was your POLITE "sock puppet" (emphasis added). [Yes apparently Alan does view TVF sometimes]

Now Lena has asked if Sue and I are the same person! Lena then engaged in a great leap of logic by referring to that question as a revelation.

Sue is about 10 years younger than I am and is multi-lingual. Call me perceptive but I think our writing styles are different and I have only been following PW for a year. You can find me on twitter if you wish to learn more Lena. I do use my real name.

Good post by the way Sue!

Cheers
Ian

Posted by Ian Yarwood on September 22, 2015 08:10

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Sorry Ian, my English is so bad. Obivously I did not get the reference of Sue right. I was looking for a former comment and as it was its first but you mentioned the war. After hours and hours of language comparisons and semantic analysis I herby declare: Sue ??? Ian. More like < (as you are older...). Please accept my sincere and very heartfelt apology. Hope you will not sue me for criminal defamation in the Thai courts after I Sue'd you.

Posted by Lena on September 22, 2015 11:30

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Hey there Lena

Wow, I have never had a sincere and heartfelt apology before!

Anyway, there is no drama at all. Just thought I should clarify that Sue and I are two different people and that I am not Alan's polite "sock puppet."

By the way, Sue's name is SERGEJS but HE says most English speakers find that name too difficult so he just uses "Sue".

I sat through the 3 day Phuketwan trial and Sue came there one morning to wish Alan good luck but I did not catch up with Sue as I was unaware that he was there.

Have a great day on Phuket or wherever you are and don't get scammed by anyone!

I liked the joke at the end of your comment too!!!

Cheers
Ian

Posted by Ian Yarwood on September 22, 2015 13:38


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