Police, Prawit, Phajun and Prem

An interesting report appears in today’s Bangkok Post, and many will be able to speculate rather broadly on the implications.

PPT has a couple of posts that mention Admiral or Vice Admiral Phajun Tamprateep (search by family name). In all of them he is reported to be a close aide to General Prem Tinsulanonda, President of the Privy Council, for over three decades. Phajun has been mentioned in posts about the 2006 coup and when he joined the rightist Pitak Siam.

These things make the report in the Post very interesting indeed, especially when there have been rumors of splits, make-ups and more splits between Prem and the junta (or members of it).

The report states that Phajun is chairman of the NLA’s sub-committee on police reforms, and sent some messages to various people regarding claims that police were paying for promotional positions (which has been normal practice in the police for decades). The allegation, though, suggested “an army general … [was] involved in position-buying in the police force.”

Remarkably, the police have taken (or perhaps threatened) legal action against Phajun. Indeed, police have “issued a summons … requiring Adm Phajun to report to the Cyber Crime Division, under the Central Investigation Bureau, on March 10 to acknowledge a charge of violating the Computer Crime Act.”

Even more remarkable is that Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan “backed” this police action. Prawit said “police were right to take legal action against … Phajun … because the message undermined the police.”

It also undermined Prawit because he reckons he’s in charge of the process and “insisted there had been no position-buying as long as he had been in charge and those who claimed they could secure police posts in that way were lying to get money.”

Presumably it undermined the Army also.

Presumably Prawit’s response undermines Phajun and Prem too.

These are interesting times.

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