Is Kaewsan now a gangster persecuting Yingluck?
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Is Kaewsan now a gangster persecuting Yingluck?

The Nation:

Kaewsun Atibodhi, a law expert and former member of the post-coup Assets Examination Committee (AEC), said yesterday he moved against Pheu Thai Party’s top candidate Yingluck Shinawatra because she was seeking to help her brother Thaksin “whitewash” his wrongdoings.

Instead of feeling remorse after the Supreme Court seized billions of baht worth of his assets earned from the controversial sale of Shin Corp, he said Thaksin was trying to get an amnesty – by sending his sister to contest for political power.

“Thaksin’s way of thinking is that he can whitewash his wrongdoing through politics and the majority in the House. For him, when the majority says something is right, that is right,” Kaewsun said.

If they didn’t think of using people to destroy the rule of law, I would not have got involved,” he said.


Yingluck Shinawatra, opposition Pheu Thai Party's candidate for prime minister and the sister of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, gestures upon her arrival for a campaign rally for her party in Bangkok Thursday, June 9, 2011. Thailand will hold general elections on July 3, 2011. Pic: AP.

Once a law lecturer, Kaewsun said he was a supporter of Thaksin when he first became prime minister in 2001 and faced the first asset concealment case. A majority of Constitutional Court judges ruled in favour of Thaksin in an infamous ruling.

Kaewsun said he defended Thaksin by describing the case as weak. However, he changed his mind after Thaksin presided over a corrupt government.

“I helped him a lot. Now it’s time for me to right my sin.”

Kaewsun said his move against Yingluck was not politically motivated. “I don’t care which political party will become government or not. I just view this upcoming election as the first step towards amnesty for Thaksin,” he said.

BP: But isn’t it politically motivated? Politically motivated doesn’t mean he is a member of a political party or his actions are done at the behest of a member of a political party. He has already admitted his actions have been motivated by politics because he said he has taken up this role because he is opposed to amnesty. The virulently anti-Thaksin Thai Post, as translated by TAN, on the timing of Kaewsan’s actions:

The Network Against Amnesty for Thaksin Shinawatra’s move to have Thaksin’s sister and Pheu Thai party prime ministerial candidate Yingluck Shinawatra investigated for perjury in the asset seizure case against her brother has been met with a wide mix of reactions.

The network, led by former Assets Examination Commission member Kaewsan Atibodhi and multi-colored shirts core-figure Dr. Tul Sittisomwong, is facing its own informal questioning on the matter. The foremost of these queries is why it chose this, the election period, to lodge its case. The implication is that the action has its own political agenda to undo the poll leader.

BP: As mentioned in Matichon Weekly (June 10-16, page 9) and other places in the last week or so, on May 20, 2011 Kaewsan Athibodhi had a different position on the appropriateness of taking action against Yingluck now. In an interview that Kaewsan did with Channel 7, he stated:

“When she [Yingluck] made a decision to enter politics there is a risk lurking in the background. She may have problems in the future. When she has made a decision, she must be ready to accep

t the consequences. For those in position of power, they have one year to bring a case, but you do nothing. If you go and do something now, I warn you ‘don’t’. It would be using your power to persecute someone politically. It cannot be explained. You do nothing for one year, but when she applies [to be a candidate] then you charge her… Using your power in this way, you cannot. To be frank, gangsters/toughies don’t do this.

n’t do. To speak directly, even gangsters don’t do it (“พอเธอตัดสินใจมาเล่นการเมืองแบบนี้ มันมีแต่ความเสี่ยงติดหลังอยู่ มันก็ อาจจะมีปัญหาในอนาคตได้ ?เมื่อตัดสินใจแล้วก็ต้องพร้อมรับผิดชอบ ในครีบของผู้มีอำนาจ คุณมีเวลาที่จะดำเนินคดีนี่ตั้งเป็นปี แล้วพวกคุณไม่ทำอะไร ถ้าคุณขืนมาทำอะไรตอนนี้เนี่ย ผมขอเตือนว่าอย่าทำ นะฮะ เพราะมันจะเป็นการใช้อำนาจกลั่นแกล้งทางการเมือง มันอธิบายไม่ได้ ทำเฉยตั้งเป็นปี พอเค้าลงสมัคร แล้วก็มากล่าวโทษเค้า อะไรต่ออะไร พวกเนี้ย นะฮะ มันจะ มากๆเข้า มาใช้อำนาจแบบนี้มัน..มันไม่ได้ พูดตรงๆ นักเลงเค้าไม่ทำกัน)”

BP: That is a fairly big change of position in two weeks….* Of course, Kaewsan may argue that it is not the government who is using their power, but he is now asking for those with power to bring the charges. His point about doing nothing and then suddenly springing into action applies to him as well. It wasn’t an issue before, but now for political reasons he is making it an issue.

*On the background to Kaewsan’s change of position, see Thai Rath columnist Mae Luuk Jan – who asks if Kaewsan is forgetful, but notes that Kaewsan talked with a senior Air Force official who persuaded him to change his mind – this senior Air Force official was then miffed that Kaewsan named him and spoke to Thai Insider (both articles are in Thai and the interview with the Air Force guy is rather illuminating for his view on various things)…

h/t to JT for the Thai Insider link…