Justice at long last
A hearty congratulations to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and our judges for sentencing Chonsawat Asavahame, son of fugitive and influential ex-politician Vatana Asavanhame, to 18 months in jail for dereliction of duty in the fraud-tainted Samut Prakan municipal elections.
Jailing a member of such a powerful and wealthy clan, without bail, along with the earlier arrest of a serving general in connection with human trafficking, is a welcome sign that rule of law is finally arriving in Thailand.
But the Chonsawat case took 16 long years to creep through our court system, and “justice delayed is justice denied” (Lord Action). Such delays are the norm, especially where defendants have money and power.
PM Prayut can help ensure rule of law is finally here by prioritising legal reform (including speeding things up and preventing political interference in the judicial system) ahead of less important things like clamping down on illegal racing. Secondly, the Red Bull heir who allegedly ran down and killed a cop with his Ferrari really needs to be charged.
I vaguely remembered the case brought against Chonsawat Asavahame in the early millennium. As usual, most cases brought against high-ranking officials go nowhere.
For a case to drag on for 16 years is incomprehensible to a Westerner. It is like the worst, sickest Thai soap opera.
His father, Vatana Asavahame — who was implicated in the Khlong Dan waste water scandal — is on the run. Meanwhile, Chonsawat trapped a policeman’s hand in the window of his car and dragged him 100 metres before releasing him. Pictures also appeared of a beaten-up wife.
His aide pointed a gun at a policeman in 2010 and knocked down property. Yes, the super-rich are untouchable.
Maybe the Bangkok Post reporter and photographer will need to go into hiding to escape. Chonsawat could even be called “Baby Godfather”.
If all rural people could be made aware of the real calibre of candidates for representation in their districts, they might vote with their minds instead of the bribe in their pocket.
'New' visa falls flat
Re: “Multiple visa a trade boon”, (Business, Aug 6).
One hopes the news proclaiming a new six-month, multiple-entry tourist visa will soon be clarified. Such a visa, or even a yearly one, is already available at many Thai diplomatic missions worldwide, especially those in the US, Europe and Australia.
So it is not immediately obvious how the move will boost tourism. Presumably the idea is to extend the options for tourists from countries, notably India and China, whose citizens must currently apply for a 15-day visa on arrival at a Thai airport.
Are these visitors now expected to pay 5,000 baht for a six-month, multiple-entry visa they probably don’t need anyway?
The authorities need to explain whether the new move is just another option or a significant reorganisation of tourist visa regulations.
Stop the street chaos
Who is responsible for the nightmare happening on Sukhumvit Soi 20? Someone, or some company, is ripping up the street and seems to have all the time in this world to finish the job.
One side of the two-way soi is a construction site and the rest is simple and pure chaos. So, what purpose does it serve to rip open the street, and why does it take forever to finish the job?
It isn’t done in a sensible way by working on a short stretch and leaving the rest usable, then moving on for the next bit of road and so on. And at night it is outright haphazard, even for pedestrians.
This creates havoc for all the hotels, restaurants and other business, as well as people living and working there. Is this really necessary? Why can’t the company contracted for the road works put enough workers in to finish as fast as possible? And who or what government office is in charge of overseeing this work at a snail's pace?
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