Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014





Sondhi Limthongkul

A  TV review by 'The Weapon'.

For foreigners in Thailand who have not quite grasped the language a poster to this site and master of the photo shopped picture 'The Weapon' has provided a review of Sondhi Limthongkul's comments on his chat show last night on ASTV - which centred on the brutal murders of  Britons Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on Koh Tao. It makes interesting reading.

Sondhi starts off with a general talk about the new Government and the job Prayuth is doing. He says as a career soldier Prayuth loves country his and King but like previous Governments he is acting like a bureaucrat when he tries to overly protect the Kingdom's reputation. 

He said the new guys in power are like all politicians is being only concerned with their own survival and interests. He says Thailand's international reputation will be 'bankrupt' if the tourist industry and the countries interests are put before justice. 

He then says it is clear other countries suspect scapegoats have been arrested. He uses the word พิรุธ or phi-rut to describe this Koh Tao case. This word means suspect, dubious, dodgy etc. He uses this word to describe what everyone is saying about the case. 
They get onto Koh Tao and the full moon parties with another guy saying everyone from blind Freddy to Dang the street dog knows these parties are where people go for drugs and sex. Sondhi then says world wide everybody knows this but if you ask the Thai police they just deny it. 
He then says if drugs are illegal in Thailand how is this then acceptable? It must be stopped or the parties shut down if the Government is fair dinkum about the rule of law. He then says Prayuth himself should go and ask the people on Phuket and Samui etc about this. The people will tell him if he asks. 
The whole talk he is intimating Prayuth is a bit naive about certain things and how the police abuse and profit from these things. (I think he is just watching his manners here, not wanting to be too critical of him) 
Drugs? Some mistake surely
They then move to a talk about social media and how the masses just don't accept what has gone on in this case. 
He says Scotland Yard should be invited into a joint investigation but Thailand doesn't allow this. 
He mentions the embassy was called in London for a 'please explain' and says that is not normal unless there is great concern about the case. 
They then get onto the fact social media is accusing the son of a local influential figure but it is not only farangs who suspect him, Thais do as well as shown by what is going on on Facebook etc. 
Sondhi then starts to fire up about the Thai police saying he has first hand experience about how crooked they can be, he mentions the Sherry Duncan case claiming the police paid fake witnesses to give bogus evidence.
The other guys chime in with the Saudi diamond case as another example.
He then goes on how this 'top down' system of the police must be reformed and a new way of doing things must be developed. He says he doesn't want to talk too much about this as he will be accused of 'not loving his country.' He then says how the hell can you solve the countries problems if you cannot accept the truth? If you close your eyes and don't accept what is true, how can you fix any problem?
They then say the DSI should be called immediately for a case involving a crime of national importance like this. Just like the FBI investigates federal crimes in America. Then there is a brief conversation about the politics of the police in Thailand and how there have been zero reform so far from the new Government. 
They then talk about this and how even if somebody offers suggestions about reform they are ignored and things continue as before. When he taps the table Sondhi says all Thai Governments are only interested in two things, their own survival and looking good. He says wait and see if Prayuth and the rest of them don't do exactly that. 
Then follows a long political discussion that leads into them saying Pornthip is enemy of the police but that is actually good as it provides a system of checks and balances. They then say this is important to check the 'chain of evidence' from the so called offender right up to when it's presented in court. The taking of DNA must be clean and protected through it's journey through the system. They agree this just doesn't happen in Thailand. The police take the DNA sample and send it to the lab but nobody knows what happens in between. 
They finish by saying nobody should be scared to let somebody else check the DNA, don't be afraid, just let the truth come out. He says tourism has dropped 19% and Thailand's reputation is tied to tourism. They say it is fellows Asians who are scared to come to Thailand not Europeans. 
Sondhi closes by saying crimes against farangs are nothing new but there hasn't been such a serious case as the one in Koh Tao. In the past suspects have been caught but this case has left people totally suspicious.

Footnote:  There have been very serious cases of foreigners murdered. Protest has been more muted in the past because now everyone was internet savvy. 



  1. It is quite possible (actually easy) to monitor the reputation of Thai police and authorities (and also the communities of the islands) quantitatively and qualitatively through the use of the right social listening platform. Frankly speaking, the authorities probably wouldn't want to see such information. Social listening can be executed in multiple languages, including Thai. Therefore, this would give them some insight into what Thai citizens and non-Thai perceive and how they perceive each particular area of interest.

  2. Unfortunately, Sondhi sacrifices his credibility when he stupidly overstates his case by claiming Thailand will become bankrupt If tourism and reputation is diminished. Tourism accounts for 8 - 9 % of GDP in a good year, possibly 6 -7 % in leaner times.
    Scarcely grounds for believing bankruptcy looms, is it?

    1. What he says is Thailand's reputation and the word 'chip-haay' which can mean anything from 'f##cked to destroyed. It can also be used like 'damned' I chose the word bankrupt, but in plain English he was saying the countries reputation will be trashed and destroyed if this bullshit continues. 'Chip-haay' or literally 'ship hai' is a swear word. People use it when a business goes broke, like 'Chip-haay laaw'- the business has gone bust.

      I'm no expert on the Thai language at all, but I can understand this video if I listen closely. I do however think I can explain the gist of what is being said. I apologise if there are any blues. I put certain words in italics where I use my own translation which I think is best for the context of the sentence. If you changed each word literally it would make no sense.

      At the end he says 'yaa hen kae nong hen kae pii hen kae chart' I translate that as don't be selfish about only your families or the countries interests. Thais will use the words 'nong' and 'pii' which is like younger and older. It's like in English where you'd say brothers and sisters. In English you wouldn't start a speech with 'welcome oldies and youngsters' but you could say 'welcome brothers and sisters' this is very common in Thai public speeches to refer to the masses as 'pii nong'

      The other great thing is Thais will use the word ''jai' or heart whilst a westerner will use "mind' when talking about things. A farang will say 'In my mind' but a Thai will say 'In my heart' this is a major difference in culture. An intellect versus emotion thing.

    2. He didn't say fiscally bankrupt he sad Thailand's international reputation be bankrupt.

      "He says Thailand's international reputation will be 'bankrupt' if the tourist industry and the countries interests are put before justice."

      Far from sacrificing his credibility, he displays an understanding of exactly what is at stake.

    3. Well that's why they need to apply the appropriate tools and resources to understand. It's called reputation management. Sure, it's not used appropriately in the public sector because it has never been necessary for the bottom line and less so in developing liberal democracies (if we can apply that term to Thailand). However, if you cannot understand the purpose or value of maintaining the reputation of your "brand", then you will suffer any impact. My attitude may sound too corporate, but in reality, they understand it much more in the commercial world.

      As for the power of social listening, I am referring to something more sophisticated than a Google search. If you take the examples of the other rascals that AD has exposed, it would take a simple Google to understand why you would be wise to exercise engaging caution in dealing with them.

    4. I have heard that the real figure is closer to 20% since the official statistics only take into account statistics from tour operators. How much does each tourist spend, translating into income for Thailand? Nobody really knows, but people I know in the hotel business say that everybody is hurting from the decline, not just hotel owners.

    5. there's a massive informal economy related to tourism....

    6. Those are the official numbers, how much more is not recorded? Double, triple? Regardless it's the reputation he is speaking of, which always, always, always, takes precedence over anything else

  3. I'll post his closing comments in detail, I greatly cut them because the site wouldn't let me post as it said there were too many characters. I'm too stupid to realize I could have sent it in 2 posts.....

    ## "The most important thing is the killing, robbing and stealing from tourists is nothing new, it has happened a long time. It has always happened, but there has never been a case as serious as this. In the past the police have caught the culprits and there have been no suspicions or dubious acts. The killing of this girl is not the first time it has happened in Thailand. In Thailand we have had this all the time, but there hasn't been a case as dubious and suspicious as this. This has caused the problem. If every case was like this we would have had problems with farangs, how many other English people have died in Thailand? We shouldn't be selfish and only thinking about our own families or the countries interests. This is what I'm warning about. We must forget about these things. The more the masses speak up the better it is. The police must stop seeing the people as the enemy. It will make the police have to come out and point out things that are the truth. To find the truth they must use the people."

    1. The Kirsty Jones case was as dubious and suspicious. The rape of a Dutch girl in Krabi would have gone without an arrest had not the father composed the song 'Evil Man of Krabi'. If police do not look after the people and do not look after the tourists and care more instead about image - they will totally destroy their image.

    2. Well nothing ever happens unless a case gets kicked up to a national level and the countries image is at stake. The local cops are useless, they are in the pockets of local warlords. Remember the bollocking Chuwit gave the cops? He went on TV every night and in great detail told of the 100's of millions of baht he paid out to the cops to leave his massage parlour empire alone. Nothing was done at all about it. Going back to the Saudi blue diamond case there have been countless cases where the cops have been major suspects in murders and people being disappeared. Who can forget the 'war on drugs' I can't remember how Thais have said the cops used that as an excuse to shoot anybody they thought could finger them as being involved in drugs. The whole Thai police force needs reforming from the very top down.

  4. There is nothing really enlightening about his comments. It's all pretty common knowledge and has been for years.

    To fix the problem would require a massive house cleaning of the police force and that simply isn't going to happen. It would require too much work.

    These barbaric murders will fade from the public conscious in time and it will be business as usual in Thailand.

    Reform? There is too much money and "face" involved. Forget about it.

  5. Just realised I misread the article. He was referring to Thailand's reputation becoming bankrupt. Spot on.

  6. I've shared the article on my Twitter @mattowens355 account and on Facebook I hope all we AD supporters do the same.

  7. I tend to disagree with the comments on Thailand and reform. Having lived here for the best part of 15 years I can for once see change from the Government who have at least installed a new belief in the people of Thailand which has been missing for a long time. Of course it will be a challenge but after years being under the spell of open corruptness I think the army and its Government deserve a chance to move forward on their new plans. Thailand is taking a battering at the moment by the International media due to the awful deaths of the two youngsters but in all fairness it is still a relatively safe place to live for foreigners. I certainly feel safer walking the streets of Thailand than I do walking any city center towns in the UK which I think most people would agree. Thailand people are the most welcoming people in the world which like any other place on the planet has a bad minority which spoil it for others. The majority of trouble I have witnessed in my time in Thailand has been mainly down to drunken Brits although that is no excuse for what has happened to the people, set up, imprisoned, or fallen from a balcony with their hands tied behind their backs while trying to commit suicide. We must remember that the Thai police force are a very underpaid force which has to buy its own weapons and uniforms (so I am led to believe) which is a recipe for corruption, just like any other 3rd world country. Its called survival and until this is sorted out then there isn't much hope for change.
    By all accounts of your reporting of happenings in Thailand, the Thai corruption is supported by foreigners at the top end of the scale. Where is the International condemnation there?

    1. I am probably going to have to differ with you on a few points. First of all and I have heard this said many times. "I feel safer walking the streets......" Indeed you may well feel that, depending where you come from. But quite frankly statistically the Thai murder figures are many times those of the UK. Thai crime tends not to be confrontational but when it is it is a lot more ferocious that in the west. If the majority of trouble you see in Thailand is from drunken Brits, then you are either in the wrong place, or need to stop associating with them. Your argument that the police are poorly paid does not justify their actions or that of the court judges. Foreign crooks come here because they know Thai police would rather take their money than do anything else. Most crimes against foreigners are not reported - especially rape cases. When you talk about the bad minority. Here's a litmus test. Find a lawyer :-)

  8. It wouldn't be too difficult to disprove the DNA evidence, if samples were obtained by the UK prior to the poor girls burial... They don't need samples from the two accused.. their parents samples will do just as well.

    1. Independently verified sample of DNA from the assailants obtained from Witheridge is what is needed.