Pornthip Rojanasunand is the very prominent and colorful Director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, Ministry of Justice in Bangkok. She has created a persona, particularly her hair style, also cultivating an audience. She has appeared on TV game shows, interview, and writes a column. She has famously done battle with the police in many cases using forensic evidence to point out when they are wrong. She generally has a good public image – whenever there is an instance of suspected police brutality, although in today’s politically charged and divided environment, some/many red shirts view her suspiciously. However, it is her role and her views on the GT200 devices which interests BP.
The Nation on her agency’s purchase of the GT200 devices:
Director of the Forensic Science Institute, Dr Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunant, followed up by purchasing six units of the GT200 at Bt1.1 million per set.
BP: Interestingly, if read The Nation‘s article it was the Customs Department, who many normally view as one of the more corrupt government agencies, who purchased GT200 devices for just over 400,000 Baht, almost one third of the price paid for the Forensic Science Institute – not sure if the detection cards were included in the purchase price for Customs, but even if not they paid significantly less than either the army or Forensic Science Institute did.
The Nation in October 2008:
An inspection of the scene of bloody clashes between police and the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has found no explosive residue, renowned forensic expert Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand said yesterday.
“Our team has used a GT200 substance detector and found no substance used in making bombs. We’ve already checked the clash scenes and the bodies and clothing of the injured victims,” she said.
However, she said the detector had collected chemicals from the scenes and victims that could be used for comparisons later.
BP: You have confidence there were no bombs knowing the GT200 device was being used?
btw, the GT200 device can collect chemicals now??? Or The Nation misquoted her and it should be “detected”?
The Bangkok Post in November 2009:
“This type of device works by detecting the magnetic signal [of a substance] but it does not give a 100% result,” said Khunying Porntip.
“The device has been widely used in the deep South to help narrow down areas where bombs might be planted.”
She was speaking at a seminar yesterday on the reliability of GT 200.
Khunying Porntip, however, insisted the GT 200 has high sensitivity for detecting substances from far away, and the CIFS had never come across any instances of incorrect readings.
The Nation from January 2010:
Meanwhile, Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, director of the Forensic Science Institute and who always uses the GT200, said the UK had only banned the ADE651.
She said the detector was effective when searching for bombs and even nails under water.
BP: Nails under water? Honestly, if it was not such a serious matter with peoples lives on the line, it would be comical.
btw, does anyone know if the antenna also moves up and down or just from right to left?
Isra News in February 2010:
Regarding the controversial GT200 bomb detector, Dr Porntip insists that the device will still be used in the deep South even if it is proven ineffective.
“I do not feel embarrassed if the bomb detector is proven ineffective. Personally, I have never handled the device myself. But my people have used it and it is accurate every time. Long long time ago, people believed that the Earth is flat and anyone who said otherwise faced execution. Things which are not visible does not necessarily mean they do not exist.”
“The devices (GT200) are there and no one has the right to ban their use. I will continue to use it,” she announced apparently unperturbed by the tests which are to be undertaken on the detector.
BP: It is bizarre that Pornthip raises the flat earth analogy given the same analogy can be used for believers of the GT200 device. Flat earthers have no science to back them as all the evidence points to the earth being round, but it is a belief system which defies science and logic. Similiarly, supporters of the GT200 device insist it works, but are not able to explain how a simple antenna and plastic box can mysteriously detect bombs/drugs. They insist on this despite the evidence to the contrary. Even after tests they are not able to be reasoned with simply stating that things which are not visible does not necessarily mean they do not exist.
h/t to a reader for one of the links.