FACTorial: Planes, helicopters and tablet PCs

July 25, 2011

I read the news today, oh boy

Can FACT readers discern what these three have in common in Thailand?

C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N.

The Don Muang Tollway failed because govt officials got greedy for a bigger slice of the bribe, leaving a German company holding the bag for $30 million Euros and the rest of us Bangkokians with a charming cement Stonehenge. The Thai govt of the day broke its contract and defaulted. We didn’t keep our word.

The real story, not blocked by censors yet, is here: http://www.zenjournalist.com/2011/07/thai-crown-princes-737-impounded-at-munich-airport/#more-11948 (Note to MICT: Linking to websites is NOT a crime!)

Later on, we taxpayers bought some planes. It is inconceivable that corruption was not a part of their purchase because that’s just what Thai govt has always done. These planes were then gifted to our Crown Prince.

It is equally inconceivable that such a gift did not benefit some good folks in govt with profit or favour. The fact is, all of us paid for those planes.

All govts and many kinds of administrators in Thailand must receive Royal endorsement or assent before assuming office. Of course, our monarch is above politics and not involved in its functions. Nevertheless, the politicians who purchased the planes and other politicians who gifted them to the Prince were approved by our King.

Thailand’s monarchy has always kept the Royal property in trust for the Thai people. It is not really so much of a stretch to say the planes flown by our Crown Prince, regardless of whose name is on their registration papers, are, in fact, the property of Thailand, that same Thailand which owes the German govt 30 million. Personally, we wish they were Thaksin’s planes seized as he was the crafty businessman who broke the German contract and should bear much of the responsibility.

So get over it, already. This is not about “our” monarchy.

Ah, yes, those helicopters. Three helicopters crashing in the same area, one after another, occasioning lamentable loss of life for aircrew just doing their jobs and, later, attempting to rescue their fellow soldiers. All crashes occurred in the Thai counterpart to the Bermuda Triangle.

News reports have it that Thailand’s military runs 30 helicopters. It is again inconceivable that the purchase of these helicopters, like all military expenditures, was not riddled with corruption. It is also likely in the extreme that the maintenance contracts for those same helicopters, including parts and servicing, involved substantial bribery and kickbacks.

Loss of life, you say? Just don’t get in the way of the money.

Now Thailand’s new Phua Thai govt is promising a tablet PC for every child, and perhaps two chickens in every garage. We doubt Steve Jobs will be getting much of a cut.

It is inconceivable in Thailand that such a vast purchase would not be firmly based on corruption, bribery and kickbacks, no matter who is in power. Think of the children…

Bangkok played host last year under martial law to the 14th Int’l Anti-Corruption Conference. Many of my colleagues boycotted the irony of this event and I myself commented that this year’s IACC would be held in Harare. In fact, I was forced to pay a policeman 200 baht on my way to the Conference!

These are observations not accusations but anyone in Thailand must have their eyes closed not to be cynical of everything govt and military put their greedy hands on.

4 Responses to “FACTorial: Planes, helicopters and tablet PCs”

  1. maewnam Says:

    While I agree that corruption is a major problem behind many of the visible problems, I think you mixed up two cases with the concrete Stonehenge. Those nice pillars are the remnants of the Hopewell railway project (BERTS), not the Don Mueang Tollway built next to it.

  2. facthai Says:

    Ooops! We missed another Hope-less corruption scandal of bygone days! Those concrete tombstones have always seemed emblematic of corruption in Thailand.

  3. Chunkton Says:

    All politicians everywhere are corrupt to varying degrees, eg just look at the US politicians handing trillions to their banker supporters and the bill to the tax payer. Democracy is about people voting, however those same people that are manipulated and conned by thieving politicians and the corrupt money that supports them. Democracy is just a system manipulated by the rich, those that lack it believe it to be the Nirvana of freedom and fairness, however that is not the case. Better than many alternatives, sure, but nothing equitable about it. Corruption still flourishes.

  4. Matthew Hunt Says:

    Great to see that FACT is not being blocked anymore (TOT in Bangkok). Anything to do with the change of government?

    Mat.


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