#watchgate

#watchgate

There is this ongoing "watchgate", which started in December when Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, aka Uncle Pom, held up his hand to shield his face from sunlight during a photo shoot with his fellow ministers at Government House. What caught people's eyes was a Richard Mille watch on his wrist and a giant diamond on his ring finger.

Consequently, the CSI LA Facebook page revealed other expensive watches (25 at the time of writing) he has been sporting. This incident also inspired creative calendars and various memes, which I will be forever grateful for. Understandably people questioned how he could have come into possession of such an expensive collection and, more importantly, failing to declare them as part of his assets when he assumed position as deputy PM.

I would like to give everyone the benefit of doubt but, as this saga continues, it's getting harder and harder for me to believe that Uncle Pom borrowed them from a friend. Here's why:

1. Back in 2014, Uncle Pom declared, to National Anti-Corruption Commission, his total assets to be worth 87.3 million baht. Are you telling me he couldn't afford to buy an expensive piece of watch with his already vast wealth?

I'm sure that, unless he chartered a plane to Hawaii every month, he could have saved enough money to buy a Patek or an Audemars Piguet with his salary alone.

2. A prominent business tycoon has been identified as the BBF who lent Prawit those expensive watches in various reports. In these reports, it's confirmed that he and Prawit have been bros since their school years. However, many comments also have pointed out that the said friend died in Feb 4, 2016 so how could he (posthumously) lend Prawit the infamous Richard Mille watch, which he was spotted wearing for the photo shoot on Dec 4 the same year.

Moreover, isn't it a courtesy thing to do to return the watches that you borrow from a dead friend to his family as soon as possible or in a week (if you're really busy)? I mean his kids would be wondering what happened to the expensive watches their father collected. Or did the tycoon friend's will mention that his family should continue lending the watches to Prawit?

3. The hassle that comes with the actual borrowing process itself. Your friend may have a bigger wrist than you do so you'll need to adjust the wristband to your size. And we are not talking about borrowing a Casio here. These are expensive watches and wouldn't adjusting them around risk devaluing them? Does Prawit hire a watch specialist to adjust the wristbands for him whenever his friend lent him a new one? Did he have to have them professionally cleaned and polished before returning them as a courtesy? Also when his friend wanted his watch back, did Prawit ask one of his trusted subordinates to deliver back it personally since we're talking about very expensive items here.

I mean if you have close-to-three digits in the banks, wouldn't you just skip this hassle and buy a nice watch with your own money.

4. No matter how close two people are as friends, I find it very difficult to think that one will lend the other two dozen watches, which are reportedly worth close to 40 million baht in total. That's like wearing a condo unit on your wrist.

Well, Uncle Pom and his very generous friend are super blood brothers, perhaps?

Again, I can't say with 100% certainty that Uncle Pom isn't telling the truth. I simply find it so damn hard to believe his explanation.

Pornchai Sereemongkonpol

Guru section Editor

Guru section Editor

Email : pornchais@bangkokpost.co.th

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