The Nation has a report on “investigations” into Corruption Park.This is one of the first stories since Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn was announced as a patron of the park.
We have trouble following it, but as it refers to the mysterious “amulet trader,” we thought some readers will find it useful.
The report refers to the “amulet trader at the centre of the Rajabhakti Park scandal” and says he “has denied demanding bribes from the casters of the giant statues of great kings, testifying that Bt20 million was donated to the park in Prachuap Khiri Khan on behalf of the five foundries.”
It turns out that the “amulet trader” also owns a foundry. It isn’t clear if this is one of the foundries making the statues of dead and one live king.
We guess this is trying to marry a story to Deputy Defence Minister General Udomdej Sitabutr’s claims about “donations.”
This “investigation” is by Auditor-General Pisit Leelawachiropas who went on television to disclose (why?) that the “trader presented evidence of his services for the five foundries involving advising on, supervising and solving problems with their work.”
Amulet trading seems to involve skills one would not necessarily assume. More, he claims that these unusual skills were paid at “Bt20 million in instalments as consulting fee and for expenses.” That’s quite a fee!
The Auditor-General’s Office seems to buy this story and the remarkable claim that the 20 million was first used to “construct a temple” but that the “trader” then had second thoughts (was there a gun involved, pointed at him?) and then “transferred the money via his foundry’s bank account to the park fund…”.
It is a strange series of events.