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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Four hours in Sydney, four years in jail and the week from hell

    It’s hard to imagine a politician’s week getting much worse than being caught out over a lie downplaying a four-year jail sentence for a conspiracy to import heroin.
    But that was just the start of a series of scandals for the teflon-like Thai cabinet minister Thammanat Prompao, whose past 10 days went from very bad to baffling and beyond.



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    A newly appointed senior Thai government minister who has played down the extent of his criminal past spent four years in a Sydney jail in the 1990s after pleading guilty to conspiracy to import 3kg of heroin.


    The government enforcer dug in and threatened to sue 100 people over revelations in the Herald and Age about a heroin trafficking conviction in Sydney in the 1990s, when fresh claims emerged about whether his PhD came from a fake university, amid evidence large parts of his doctorate were plagiarised.
    Then details emerged of the three times he was sacked from the army.

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    And then came the political fallout from labelling the minor parties he had been assigned to wrangle as “monkeys”, and a $38 million bitcoin scam he was suspected of profiting from.
    But for all the headaches and headlines he still has his job.
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    Thammanat thought he had cleared up questions about his past in July, days before the post-election cabinet was sworn in. He fronted a 20-minute press conference and sat down for a 40-minute interview where he explained the terrible luck he had endured.
    It was bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the Australian Federal Police raided a Bondi hotel at 12.05am on April 15, 1993, arresting him within four hours of landing as drug traffickers and their wares were in the room; it was bad luck for him that a subordinate committed a murder on a property he owned, but he was pleased the court saw fit to acquit him after three years in custody; and it was bad luck one of his companies had dealings with another company that lured a Finnish millionaire to Macau and fleeced him of $38 million in bitcoin.

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    Having cleared the air, he was sworn in – but then a Herald and Age investigation uncovered court documents showing he was arrested under the name Manat Bophlom and charged with conspiring to import $4.1 million of heroin. The documents confirmed incredible similarities between Thammanat and Manat: the same birthdate, military training history, and co-accused half-brother. He had pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court and served four years in jail before being released from Parklea prison and deported.


    Details from the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal judgment dismissing an appeal on sentence severity by Manat Bophlom and Sorasat Tiemtad.CREDIT:
    For days after the revelations and with the backing of a Prime Minister also beset by questions over his own legitimacy after the first elections since the 2014 coup, Thammanat denied what was clear from court documents.
    Many Thais vented their outrage online and called for his sacking, while a succession of top cabinet ministers were less than fulsome in their support. Sections of the Thai media translated the Herald and Age’s stories verbatim, while others bought into Thammanat’s claim to have been the target of a conspiracy. Even columnists who typically give the army-led government the benefit of the doubt hinted he was on thin ice. Opposition politicians pounced, with the policeman prosecuting the 1998 murder leading the attack on the floor of Parliament.
    As pressure mounted, Thammanat began changing his Sydney story: from an eight-month stay in custody and four years of "normal life" in Sydney, to telling Parliament he was provided “state-sponsored accommodation” while acting as a witness in another case.

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    After hunkering down with his legal team, he changed his story again: he had been sentenced in Australia, but was covered by two sweeping pardons granted by the previous Thai king. He stopped short of acknowledging the crime for which he was sentenced.
    But the scandal that Thai news magazine Matichon Weekly dubbed “Aussie-gate” was only the first headline to give him a headache.


    Matichon Weekly headlined its latest cover story "Aussie-gate" after the Herald and Age's revelations.CREDIT:TWITTER
    Facebook page CSI LA, the same publication that sparked a corruption inquiry over another top politician's million-dollar collection of watches, showed an academic institution cited on Thammanat's parliamentary website was bogus.
    Thammanat claimed it was an error, and the site was amended, but the digital detectives at CSI LA were only getting started. Both the institutions listed on the cover of his doctorate were suspect, with "California University CFE" having been linked in 2016 to a Zambian minister's bogus degree and "Calamus International University, USA" operating from a shop front in Vanuatu.

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    Worse, the BBC Thai service did a side-by-side comparison of his doctorate with the previously published work of a Finnish academic. They identified 14 examples where the same wording had been used.
    For all his bad luck, Thammanat’s connections appear to explain how he has to date remained in his job. He has had the good fortune to have Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha dismiss the history of heroin trafficking as a “small matter” and a deputy prime minister offering legal defences to every new scandal.


    Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha dismissed Thammanat Prompao's heroin trafficking past as a "small issue".CREDIT:AP
    Thammanat’s political security comes partly from securing seats in Thailand’s north after defecting from exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s political machine, but also from long ties to those in power. As a young soldier, he told the Australian Federal Police in an interview, he had worked as a bodyguard for the then crown prince, now king. In his heroin case he received character references from a judge and senior policeman. His military backing is such he repeatedly returned to the ranks after being sacked and still calls himself captain.
    What’s in a same same but different name?

    Changing names isn’t out of the ordinary in Thailand, and for Buddhists it may take place after consulting a monk about restoring good karma or as a way to attract good fortune. Thammanat Prompao, however, has been through more names than most. He was Manat Prompao as an army cadet, and became Yuhaphoom Bophlom when he claimed to be working as an army spy. Manat Bophlom was on his passport when he travelled to Sydney for the drug deal, but he was Patchara Prompao in 1998 after he’d returned to the army and won a promotion. At some point during his political and business career it achieved its final form, Thammanat Prompao, transliterated on the cover of his dubious doctorate as Thamanat Prompow.



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    Thammanat’s most revealing comment came in a defiant spray to the media, gleefully repeated in the next morning’s banner headlines: “If you bring me down you bring the government down.”
    That hasn’t stopped the opposition from trying, and they will haul him before a parliamentary committee to explain why a share of the proceeds from the bitcoin scam ended up in one of his company’s accounts. He has denied direct involvement. The legal case against him and eight others was settled late last year; the political fallout is still to come.
    By the end of a torrid fortnight, pictures emerged of Thammanat recovering in hospital with Thailand's best-known military reporter saying he was exhausted from hard work and “escaping the political trend”.
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    But it didn’t take long for doubts to emerge about those pictures – with online sleuths pointing out that while his cheery wave from a hospital bed might have explained his absence from an uncomfortable cabinet meeting, it didn’t explain why his famous greying crew cut suddenly appeared both darker and longer in the photo






  2. #2
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Here's the link for anyone who can't be bothered with that dog's breakfast of a c+p.


    https://www.smh.com.au/national/four...19-p52t5h.html

  3. #3
    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
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    he is in hospital for a big case of "losing face"

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat

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    So, in what sense did posters not think Thailand is a medieval, feudal state without a functioning democratic government or meaningful rule of law in which all are treated equally?

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    So Ya want sum dont Chas.

    Fookin oath innnit.

    Cheers innit eh fook.

  7. #7
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    It's Thainess in a nutshell, no surprise there

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    The only surprise is how blatant it is.

  9. #9
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Out of arrogance, KW, and entitlement

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat

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    They have absolute power and are unaccountable to the people in any way whatsoever and if the people were to protest they would be squashed flat like bugs under the jackboot of oppression.

    It truly is a vile and nasty place.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    Isn't that how 2/3 of the world live?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seekingasylum View Post
    So, in what sense did posters not think Thailand is a medieval, feudal state without a functioning democratic government or meaningful rule of law in which all are treated equally?
    With consideration there are only very few exceptions (in those "functioning democratic governments with meaningful rule of law in which all are treated equally") - I cannot now remember the name in headlines of the recent days - however, such exceptions will be eliminated very fast...

  13. #13
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    I tried Google translate . . . didn't work

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat

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    I think you need to have had a lunch time session to act as your Babel fish.

  15. #15
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Ford Prefect would object

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Despite Evidence, Thammanat Denies He Pled Guilty to Aussie Heroin Charges

    Asaree Thaitrakulpanich
    Khao Sod English

    BANGKOK — Deputy agriculture minister Thammanat Phrompao on Wednesday night continued to insist he never pled guilty and served jail time for drug charges in Australia, despite evidence that he did.


    Thammanat’s denial came after the disbanded Future Forward Party published a court ruling it obtained from Australia on its Twitter account, confirming Thammanat’s guilty plea and jail sentence for heroin trafficking. Under Thai laws, a person with a conviction on drug offenses cannot serve as a minister.


    “I did not admit to importing, exporting, producing, or selling heroin,” Thammanat told the House when questioned about his criminal records during the no-confidence debate.


    MORE Despite Evidence, Thammanat Denies He Pled Guilty to Aussie Heroin Charges

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Is it a criminal offence to lie to the House in Thailand?

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
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    It is certainly a criminal offence not to lie to the public.

  19. #19
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    I think I've got it.....HE didn't plead guilty....his LAWYER did it for him....despite his vehement protests.

  20. #20
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    He paid his due. Time to move on and get on with life.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by GracelessFawn View Post
    He paid his due. Time to move on and get on with life.
    Are you out of your mind? In addition to lying about the heroin he also has 2 fake university degrees. Please stick to Filipino politics. Cheers.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    Are you out of your mind? In addition to lying about the heroin he also has 2 fake university degrees. Please stick to Filipino politics. Cheers.
    Oh, geez. All these years living in Asia and you still don't get it. ��

  23. #23
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GracelessFawn View Post
    He paid his due. Time to move on and get on with life.
    He didn't, actually.

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by GracelessFawn View Post
    Oh, geez. All these years living in Asia and you still don't get it. ��
    I do get you are thick as a brick. I dont turn a blind eye towards corruption, ill gotten gains, and simply shit character. But to each his or her own. Quite telling though..

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    I do get you are thick as a brick. I dont turn a blind eye towards corruption, ill gotten gains, and simply shit character. But to each his or her own. Quite telling though..
    Chill. To each their own. You can say what you want about the system. How it's corrupt, dirty and shitty. Welcome to the jungle. I do not like it, but I am aware about its existence. Reality is reality. At least, I am realistic about the world I live in.
    I am so unlucky that if I fall into a barrel full of D*ick**s, I'd come out sucking my own thumb!

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