Saturday, February 27, 2010

Court rules Thaksin inept

The Supreme Court verdict spells it out clearly - Thaksin was inept at enriching himself and family, and he failed to learn the proper lessons from older, wiser, predecessors:

Shin shares gained 121 percent from when Thaksin took office on Feb. 9, 2001, to when his family sold the company on Jan. 23, 2006, compared with a 128 percent gain in the benchmark SET index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Siam Cement Pcl, Thailand’s fourth-biggest company, which is controlled by the monarchy’s investment arm, gained 717 percent in that time.

“Whether Thaksin used his influence to benefit his companies is for the courts to decide,” said Vikas Kawatra, head of institutional broking at Kim Eng Securities (Thailand) Pcl, the nation’s biggest brokerage by trading volume. “We analyze the stocks on fundamentals and price movements and based on past performance versus the SET it appears his companies performed no better than others in the benchmark.”

Apart from the courts attempt to legitimize the coup, I am basically happy with the financial aspects of the verdict as it (purportedly) returns to the Thaksin clan an amount that in my view, considering the totality of their business lives, they 'might' have 'earned' legitimately.

The other good aspect to the verdict is that it spells out that holders of public office need to clearly separate their business affairs, or, in the absence of the double standard, they will run the risk of being caught for policy corruption.

In my dream world, the verdict will encourage investigative research by journalists, and activists, into all the business dealings of public office holders, not only politicians, but police, military, bureaucrats and other office holders (both elected, and appointed:)

Update: Or I should say I would be happy with the verdict if I knew the precedents would be consistently applied to all.

There also seems to be considerable doubt about whether anything will actually be returned to the clan, and perhaps this verdict was just a stalling measure to provide a gloss of 'fairness' when he real intention is to grab the remainder with other court actions over time.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hidden news?

A post on Thai Visa Chiang Mai forum:

"I live in Lamphun 3 klicks from Big C
A large truck was travelling south from Chiang Mai on highway 11 at 6.30pm on Sat 13th Feb, it ran through a set of red lights 4 kiicks before the Big C junction, in so doing it crashed into a number of motorbikes turning onto the highway 11 on green lights, 4 people were killed.

The driver who lives 500 metres from me tried to escape the scene, but was chased by police.

The junction at Big C has an overpass to avoid local traffic mostly motorbikes coming & going to work on the nearby industrial estates, these people use the old road under the overpass.
The driver of the truck veered off highway 11 and took the slip road leading to the busy junction underneath the overpass, the road was very busy with workers returning home, the truck driver again went against the red lights and ploughed into the motorbikes crossing the road on green lights, a further 12 people died, two of those was in a Vigo truck which then brought the runaway to a holt.

The police caught the driver, and according to local opinion he was pretty badly beaten up by them.
A further 3 people have died in hospital making the carnage 19"

I cannot find any reference to this horrific event in any English language papers, but presumably it's true?
Very sad - my condolences to all victims & families.