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Phuket Opinion: Who watches the watchmen?

PHUKET: The move to bestow soldiers with the rank of sub-lieutenant or higher with police powers of arrest and seizure is enough to alarm anyone who knows that having soldiers on the streets is usually not good news.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 17 April 2016, 10:00AM

Having soldiers on streets is not ideal for tourist destinations, but will it be better for Phuket in the long run?

Having soldiers on streets is not ideal for tourist destinations, but will it be better for Phuket in the long run?

But that is exactly what has happened on this tourism-dependent isle. (See story here.)

It’s no secret that the Royal Thai Police are under immense public pressure, especially following the very suspicious initial lack of action against Janepob Veeraporn for the high-speed car crash in Ayutthaya.

Only due to public pressure over this case has an investigation been launched into why police dragged their heels for so long in the 2012 hit-and-run case involving Vorayuth Yoovidhya, the youngest son of Red Bull executive Chalerm Yoovidhya, that the statute of limitations expired on charging the energy drink empire heir. And that case saw an officer from the police’s own ranks killed.

And all this follows the notorious handling of the Koh Tao murder trial.

Graham Catterwell, one the dozens of experts called on for advice for drafting the new Constitution – though with some advice heeded, and other key suggestions ignored – in Phuket last year said he rated the success of each successive “regime change” in Thailand by how effective the police force was after each coup.

QSI International School Phuket

If calling the army in to supplement – or monitor – police in carrying out their work is any indication, apparently this current round is not going well.

The rationale for this latest move seems clear that the army is believed likely to be more impartial in executing police action, as military personnel failing to perform their duties can face court martial.

Yet to avoid the same public image the police have suffered, the military will need to keep their own house clean. The current administration, probably through its many highly public experiences over the past two years, seems to be starting to understand that justice not only needs to be be done, but must be seen to be done.

If the army is to avoid the same pitfalls that seem to have snared the police, they will have to tread warily through the minefield of ensuring that no army personnel of any rank is found having any vested interested – financial or otherwise – in any affairs on which the army is supposed to be executing the law.



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nakaritsd | 05 May 2016 - 05:31:53

It's quite pathetic how nothing has happened to Vorayuth Yoovidhya over the past three years. So many charges have been dropped. Most of which were unjustified. l fear for Thailand and it's legal system. I think people need to own up to their actions, if the legal system does not serve the people. An honor system is virtually impossible to implement and maintain.

I read from a few sourc...

Christy Sweet | 18 April 2016 - 08:35:37

Ant other suggestions on how to deal with a thoroughly corrupted entity? Can't really just lay off the entire police force-unless you have something to take its place. Maybe that's the plan? 

malczx7r | 17 April 2016 - 23:23:20

Well said Kurt! If the police did their job, this wouldn't have happened, oh and let's not forget how corrupt they are! 

Kurt | 17 April 2016 - 14:32:22

Well, if the royal thai police force prove of lack and very 'slooooow' unexplainable law enforcement, actually just to please very financial powerful influential people, than they loose peoples credit.
Police, Prosecutors than don't have to be surprised if the Army steps in and show a strong arm to tackle police and other officials corruption.
That is what is happening now.
The answ...

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