Politics and organised crime are not strange bedfellows in any country, but what makes a country like Thailand stand out is that it’s a norm, rather than an exception. It is well practised and celebrated, out in the open and in the face of society, rather than skeletons hidden in the closet.
To understand this relationship, which defines the feudalistic political governance of Thailand, look no further than the case of Somchai Khunploem, who is commonly known as Kamnan Poh (or district chief Poh). He has also been dubbed the Godfather of Chonburi and the Godfather of the East.
On Sept 30, more than 200 well-wishers celebrated his 75th birthday at the Khunploem residence in Chonburi, the provincial home of the infamous Pattaya City bosses. Among the distinguished guests at the party was the provincial governor, prominent local politicians and businessmen and members of parliament.