Prayut goes on defensive in second day of censure debates

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha denied all allegations of corruption and abuse of power against him on the second day of the opposition’s general debate against the government.

He denied involvement with Chinese Triad groups.

“This happened before 2014 and Tuhao came into Thailand in 2011,” he told parliamentarians.

“The information on the criminal ring came from the civil sector and I ordered the investigation myself.”

Chinese mafia boss Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant was indicted along with 40 others on multiple charges related to narcotics, money laundering, and transnational crime.

The criminal ring was exposed by former massage parlor tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit after Tuhao’s illegal club/casino/drug-den for Chinese tourists called Jinling was raided in October 2022.

Opposition parties said the Prayut administration allowed the Triad to conduct criminal activities in the country because senior members of the government were benefitting from them.

Prayut also denied that he was using his power to help Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun who is being investigated for his alleged links to a drug trafficking and money laundering network that belongs to Myanmar tycoon and arms dealer Tun Min Latt.

Move Forward Party (MFP) MP Rangsiman Rome questioned why an arrest warrant that was issued for Upakit was quickly canceled within hours after it was issued.

Prayut said he has nothing to do with the cancellation.

Rome also pointed out that the building where the headquarters of Prayut’s party, the United Thai Nation Party is located, belongs to the senator. The party said they rented out the offices and they have made no deal with Upakit.

Prayut denies political charges

Prayut denied allegations that he abused his power as prime minister to suppress other political groups.

MFP MP Amarat Chokepamitkul’s accused the government of using the army’s Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) to create propaganda and stoke up hatred against the pro-democracy movement and using state resources to monitor activists and students at their houses and schools.

Prayut said it is ISOC’s duty to maintain peace and then accused people who supported the pro-democracy movement of stoking conflict in society.

“Good people do not have a problem with ISOC,” he said.

“Only you [Amarat] have a problem since you have a problem with every law anyway while the rest of the people who live under the same law do not seem to have a problem with it,” he said.

Prayut then said that the people who are supporting and funding the pro-democracy movement are the reason why 14-year-old kids are being charged with the violation of the lese-majeste law.

According to the Thai Lawyer for Human Rights, the Prayut administration has prosecuted 230 people for alleged violation of the lese-majeste law. Of that, 18 were minors under the age of 18 and four were 14 years old.


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