Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Opinion & Analysis by Burin Kantabutra
Central Investigation Bureau commissioner Police Lt. Gen. Pongpat Chaiyaphan and Pol. Col. Arthip Taennil, of the Crime Suppression Division, deserve three chai-yos and a promotion for their excellent work in bringing convicted first degree murderer Somchai Khunploem, aka Kamnan Poh, to jail despite the fugitive being the son of a serving Cabinet minister, and also despite the recent chiefs of police having been appointed by the minister’s political ally.
Culture Minister Sonthaya Khunploem, too, deserves praise for vowing to not do anything to help his father and to allow the law to take its course – if the minister sticks to his word. The high road will be a very difficult one to take, for Thais have traditionally placed family interests before those of the country, as in Kamnan Poh’s or Thaksin’s convictions for corruption — yet it is one which must be taken if Thailand is to progress.
Minister Sonthaya might look to Tony Blair as an example of how he should act towards his convict-father, for Tony’s son Euan was arrested for being drunk in public while Tony was prime minister.
Rather than seeking to have the arrest suppressed, Tony and his wife insisted that justice not only be done but be seen to be done, with their son being treated with transparency. But, as parents, Tony and his wife accompanied Euan to the police station to give moral support.
Thus, Euan learned to be accountable for his actions and learned that his parents loved him enough to have him learn that lesson, and the world saw justice done even in the case of a prime minister’s son.