Police under fire
In the latest purge, two top police officials have died mysteriously and a third has disappeared. Major General Phisitsak Seniwong Na Ayutthaya, the prince’s main bodyguard, died in mid-October. Local media have been so terrified by the situation that they have hesitated to name Phisitsak in print. His family was told he had committed suicide by hanging himself with his shirt.
Police Major Prakrom Warunprapa, a computer crime officer, also allegedly committed suicide while in custody. Sources in Bangkok say both were beaten and tortured. Instead of releasing the bodies to their families, as is the case for most Buddhist deaths to give time for making merit and preparing the bodies for the afterlife, the two were rushed to crematoriums and immediately burned. The gossip in Bangkok is that officials wanted to hide the evidence of torture.
The former National Police Spokesman, general Prawut Thavornsiri, is said to have gone to Germany to intercede with the prince. He subsequently disappeared and resigned from the force in a letter sent from Europe. He has since been replaced as spokesman.
In contrast to most of the dozens of lese majeste cases that have been filed against a wide cross-section of Thais ranging from ordinary citizens to political activists, which have got little mention in the press, Thai authorities have publicized these cases, with photos of Mor Yong with his head shaved. Apparently those implicated in the case have had their heads shaved as well, a traditional disgrace ordered by past Thai monarchs.
“What is interesting [and worrying] is that it’s not just the major players who are being caught up in the purge, even peripheral figures, such as former police spokesman Prawut, are being targeted,” a source said. “The prince is being egged on by his latest wife, who is encouraging this behavior. Presumably, this was a way of saving face and pretending he was not involved in the corruption. In fact, he was fully involved in it, just as he was with Srirasmi’s family’s shenanigans.”