By Thai Newsroom Reporters
A NEW BUILDING IN A PRICEY area of Bangkok was grabbed by Senator Upakit Pajareeyangkun who had been earlier allegedly involved in money-laundering and drug trading rackets and turned into the Ruam Thai Sang Chart headquarters, said an opposition MP last night (Feb.15).
During censure debate without a subsequent vote of confidence at parliament, Move Forward MP Rangsiman Rome charged that Upakit had bought the newly-constructed building and surrounding parcel of land in Soi Ari area for 101 million baht and turned the property into the headquarters of the Ruam Thai Sang Chart which has been endorsing Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s design to retain power by contesting an upcoming general election under the new party’s banners.
Upakit had been earlier accused by police of involvement in the drug trading and money-laundering scams in connivance with Myanmar’s arms dealer, namely Tun Min Latt, who has been arrested and detained among a few Thai nationals since last year.
But the senator who had earlier owned a casino and hotel under the name of Allure Group in Myanmar’s Tachileik township had been allegedly involved in the drug trafficking and money-laundering business across the Thai-Myanmar border has yet remained at large.
An arrest warrant pertaining to such illegal businesses had been earlier issued by court for Upakit but was finally revoked with the mentioning of the suspected senator as an “important person.”
Upakit who was among a total of 250 senators handpicked by the 2014 coup junta under leadership of the then-army chief Prayut had had those Thai nationals as his nominees running grey businesses in connivance with the arms broker who had supplied weapons and ammunition to Myanmar government troops, Rangsiman said.
The Move Forward MP said the premier was not only to blame for allegedly failing to combat corruption among politicians and government personnel but for quietly protecting the unelected lawmaker who managed to accommodate the pro-Prayut Ruam Thai Sang Chart from being arrested for criminal charges.
Prayut looked irritable while tersely responding during the censure debate that he will see to it that all drug trading and money-laundering suspects including any corrupt government personnel be indiscriminately brought to justice.
The premier did not even mention his nephew, identified as Pathompol Chan-o-cha, by name when pressed by another MP to respond to his alleged involvement in similar money-laundering scams in connivance with Chinese-born grey businessman, identified as Chaiyanat Kornchaiyanan alias Tu Hao.
Top and Front Page: Move Forward MP Rangsiman Rome speaking during the ongoing censure debate last night, Feb. 15, 2023.
Insert: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha responding during the censure debate last night. All photos: Matichon