Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Flying Sporran’s Weekend Diary


The author  confronts foreign financial scammers in
Bangkok and their Thai fixer who was charged with
conspiracy to murder New Zealander Ian Travis

The Flying Sporran was gobsmacked to read in the Bangkok Post this week from the head of the Royal Thai Police General Pumpanmuang that Thailand was a haven for foreign criminals. 

A special unit was being set up under the auspices of the Central Investigation Bureau (now Thailand’s most notoriously corrupt police agency, according to Somyot himself) which controls the Crime Suppression Division.

According to Thailand’s Institute for Justice some 22 transnational gangs operate out of Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported and they come from places like Guatemala, Peru, Mexico. Russia and Germany.

Well blow me down with a feather. We’re being invaded by Mayan, Inca and Aztec crime mobs as well.

“Pol Gen Somyot stated that because Thailand is an open and liveable (sic) country, many want to come here. We have a lot of tourist attractions, good food, fresh air and hospitality to offer.”

“Aside from moving ahead with its efforts on transnational crime, the police aim to step up their crackdowns on other types of crime like murder, theft, sexual assault and drug offences.”
Foreign criminals coming here for the food, fresh air and tourist attractions? Well it all helps, I suppose.

But maybe cheap women and beer has had something to do with it. There are no mafia tours to the Erawan waterfall.

The criminals, claimed Somyot, included paedophiles, financial con men, electronic card skimmers, robbers, drug traffickers and terrorists. 

Well that's a mixed bunch. The RTP have picked up a few card skimmers, but as for the rest, they have usually been arrested when an international police force is involved, or arrested and released after paying their dues.

Andrew Drummond in former days ( left) with a group of Britain's
'Great Train Robbers' (not the guy with the camera). I'm guessing a few in Thailand can name them all.

Further, the Bangkok Post reported, and this is the icing on the cake, that to restore public confidence in the Royal Thai Police ‘one approach would be to improve the traffic situation’.  This would involve 'installing a remote controlled system for switching traffic lights.'

Somyot also stated: "One priority is the suppression of human trafficking and illegal migrant labour."  

In an accompanying editorial the ‘Bangkok Post’ reported further that a transnational crime unit had been set up before. It was successful in the moves against drugs warlord Khun Sa. They had chased him out Thailand.

I think General Somyot whose current assets are, according to the Bangkok Post in another article. 356 million baht (£7.150,000) might be underestimating the number of criminal gangs in Thailand.

Thailand is a major crime hub. Multiply that figure by 10 and I think it may be more accurate.  For transnational gangs Thailand is like Paddington station.  Then if one is talking about people involved in organized crime (three people involved in the commission of the same crime) then the sky is the limit.

So who really runs Thailand's twilight crime world?

With Khun Sa. 'Money, money, money'
And why are foreign criminals here in force?  Well apart from the women and cheap beer is it because they can enter deals with the Royal Thai Police and army?

Can General Somyot count on one hand the number of major league foreign criminals the Royal Thai Police has put away in a jail in Thailand?

But lets get back to foreign criminals, financial con men, cheap woman and perhaps not so cheap booze.
Has the General never heard of Nana Entertainment Plaza in Bangkok?

Is he not aware that sometimes foreign criminals gravitate around prostitution and night entertainment?

Is it possible that Thailand's Police Chief is not aware that this place is run by foreign criminals (financial con men) who hold the master lease and have their hands on 120 companies in Thailand, mainly in the names of nominee shareholders.

Do the Royal Thai Police never look at the Department of Business Development records at all? Are they really reading the same text books as Scotland Yard?

Are they aware that for instance the head of the Police Foreign Volunteers Section in Pattaya is a convicted Danish underworld figure.

And who runs the security for places like Nana Plaza?  The Royal Thai Police it would appear. More specifically off duty officers from Lumpini Police station.  And who do these criminals pay to be allowed to continue their activities? - Royal Thai Police officers and Royal Thai Army officers, according to a victims group.

Who keeps raiding the places or 'boiler rooms' where these financial scammers operate? The Royal Thai Police. (Crime Suppression Division),

And why is is that after nearly fifteen years and high publicity raids on 'boiler room' share scam houses in Bangkok no boiler room boss has ever been prosecuted?

Police resconstruct the murder of Ian Travis who had allegedly betrayed his boss to start an independent
boiler room in Bangkok. His boss Jim Muller is pictured with wife (inset)

And what happened to the allegedly solved murder of New Zealander Ian Travis who was gunned down in Sukhumvit Soi 8?

Thai Police claimed they solved the case and arrested a Thai national and Jim Muller the American boss of the boiler room Foreign Currency International. But neither saw the inside of a jail cell for the killing.

If the RTP cannot even put away godfathers such as Kamnan Poh convicted of murder who ostentatiously have annual birthday parties to which senior police and government officials are invited, who can they put away?  Well scapegoats usually it appears, and lowly drugs couriers.

According to a writer on the Bangkok Post - more than 60 per cent of people in Thai jails are innocent of the crimes of which they have been accused.

The only time foreign criminals appear to get into serious trouble in Thailand is when there is a request for arrest from a foreign police force.

And as for the unit which went chasing Khun Sa. Did they ever catch him? No, of course not. I am one of the few journalists who has spent a considerable time with the ‘Lord of the Golden Triangle’  once one of the world’s most wanted drugs traffickers.  On the last occasion  in the late eighties I spent a month in his camp.

In Khun Sa's camp - before the internet.

Khun Sa used to operate out of the village of Ban Hin Taek in Northern Thailand not long after the period in which Thai Police and Army units ran their own drugs convoys. But he just moved literally just across the border to the Shan States of Burma.

I had to go by mule (five times) to his new camp. I could not use the road which was built by the Royal Thai Army. The Army and Border Police would not approve. And I had to make my presence discreet when Thai Border Police and army officers called with businessmen to discuss deals which were caught on camera.

But in Thailand I could freely travel with a Colonel in heroin boss Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army in a vehicle unwittingly provided by the equivalent of UNODC - United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.

This was at a time when the Thai Government had declared Khun Sa, or Chan Shi Fu, it's most wanted man, under pressure from the US State Department.

Khun Sa was very pragmatic about it all. ‘When the Americans pay the Thais money they come and attack us.  Then we pay the Thais money and they go away.”

Soldiers of Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army at Homong

When we put the matter of the road built by the Royal Thai Army to Khun Sa’s camp at Homong in the Shan State of Burma, just opposite Mae Hong Son, and asked why trade kept coming down this road (including timber and drugs)  General Chavalit Yodmanee then in charge of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board replied: “Well we need woods I suppose.” That was 25 years ago.

Then 20 years ago along came a British company which had devised the traffic light system for London and Tokyo and other major cities.  Some political figure had said that the traffic system needed to improve to increase gross national happiness.

The  company tried for over a year to get the system going in Bangkok. Then they pulled out. The reason?  Cash, specifically demands for under 30 per cent under the table payments; that coupled with the Royal Thai policeman who liked playing with traffic lights and could not be stopped interfering during test runs. I was in the Control Room watching the system crash as cops all over Bangkok overruled the computers,

So here we are two decades later and General Somyot is also telling us:"One priority is the suppression of human trafficking and illegal migrant labour,"  This is because, he says:,The US and the EU are closely monitoring human trafficking and the migrant situation in Thailand. 

Illness and deaths in Thai refugee centres

Wrong answer General. Thailand should suppress human trafficking and and the abuse of migrant labour because it is the right humanitarian thing to do - not because people are watching.

The fact that migrant labour rights activist Andy Hall and is being sued for US$100,000,000, and the state has aided the prosecutions, speaks louder than Somyot's words and so do international news reports.

The fact that Australian journalist Alan Morison and Thai journalist Chutima Sidasathian are being prosecuted by a state agency for writing about the military's misbehaviour in relation to the Rohynga minority of Burma, speaks louder than word.

The whole world knows about Thailand's pushbacks of refugees

'The Thai Fishing Industry if Built on Slavery' - Guardian

And the alleged treatment of these people  speaks volumes as does treatment of its own prison inmates.

So is the military regime and new revamped police force really tackling corruption in Thailand? Hopefully - but the recent purge of the Central Investigation Bureau was not part of this effort and as such is a red herring.

And now when potential investors appear they get met first by army officials and a full military escort from Suvarnabhumi airport and then come the bills... and once again there are claims of that 30 % again.

October 2014 Banyan Tree Hotel, Bangkok. Scottish businessman dealing with Thai Army on
water quality project in Bangkok's klongs!

If the Royal Thai Police cannot put rich Thai kids in prison when they kill people with their cars,  If the Royal Thai Police and Justice system cannot deal with a simple attack on a young Australian in police owned a club in Koh Samui by rich kids within a year (see two stories back) how is the system going to deal with foreign criminals if and when they ever catch them?

And if the Royal Thai Police continue to refuse to deal with frauds by foreign criminals in Thailand who are here specifically to defraud foreigners, why should we believe in any new police unit.

A Flying Sporran Report
The existing Royal Thai Police Foreign Affairs Department does however have a good reputation. But Thailand's education system does not provide enough foreign language speakers to have an effective major unit busting international criminals. I have however met young fluent English speaking officers, educated in the UK both in the Narcotics Suppression Bureau and CSD. One would hope they would
swiftly be fast tracked for promotion. More likely is that they will continue to be merely translators doing their bosses bidding.

Somyot's words may not impress foreign police agencies in Thailand. But they will keep shtum on the matter because they need any system that works to at least catch some of their most wanted men and the Foreign Affairs Department accomplishes that quite adequately.

Bangkok, 14 November 2014 – The EU is committed to promoting and protecting the freedom of opinion and expression worldwide. The EU Delegation wishes to express its concern over the increasing misuse of criminal defamation laws in Thailand. The EU believes that defamation laws should not be misused to censor criticism and debate concerning public issues as this constitutes a serious threat to Freedom of Expression. Recent cases brought against Human Rights Defenderl Andy Hall, journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian from the "Phuketwan" newspaper, and the freelance journalist Andrew Drummond, have served to demonstrate how criminal defamation laws are vexatiously used to silence freedom of expression and investigative journalism in the country. The EU would like to appeal to State authorities to fully abide by their international obligations. As part of wider reform in Thailand, we urge the National Reform Council to address this issue, so that criminal defamation laws cannot in the future be used as a means of silencing legitimate analysis or debate/

Andrew Drummond and foreign criminals in Thailand

Andrew Drummond investigated the ‘Lord of the Golden Triangle’ for Observer Films, the television arm of the Observer newspaper in London.  The film was transmitted worldwide including PBS in the United States and Four Corners in Australia. 

He reported on attempts to install and up to date traffic light system in Bangkok for the London Evening Standard, to whom he is currently accredited.

Drummond is being sued by two foreign criminals in Thailand under the country's Computer Crimes Act. 

The first 'plaintiff' is Brian Goudie, better known in Britain and Australia, as Brian Goldie. Goldie fled an arrest warrant issued in Scotland for an alleged fraud on the Royal Bank of Scotland but was later convicted in Australia and jailed for six years for theft. Drummond is being sued for using a photoshopped pictures of Goldie clad in the garb of a British barrister and as an officer in the Royal Marines. Goudie/Goldie is currently on criminal charges not brought by the Royal Thai Police for defrauding Barbara Fanelli Miller of Madison, Wisconsin out of nearly US$250,000 by posing as a British barrister and officer of the Royal Marines.He is illegally in Thailand.

Noyes and Goudie
The second plaintiff is Drew Walter Noyes, an American who advertised his services in Pattaya as a lawyer, and who even held a 'legal seminar' for expats with judges of Chonburi Court , but who had in fact been exposed in an American newspaper for property and share fraud and sexual harrassment before coming to Thailand. 

Noyes claims he was libeled by a photo-shopped picture lampooning himself and the other fake lawyer Brian Goudie in a gay parade. 

Noyes has been convicted and sentenced to two years in jail together with his common law wife Wanrapa Boonsu for their conspiracy to extort the Thonglor Clinic, Jomtien, ou of 7 million baht, on pain of a raid by the CSD and bad publicity in their former 'newspaper' the Pattaya Times.

Drummond is also appealing a current criminal libel conviction for allowing a poster on this site to describe David John Hanks, a colleague of both Noyes and Goudie as a 'pimp'. 

Hanks was the former owner of Masquerades Brothel in Keysborough, Victoria (Aus) which has featured in Australian government records as employing Thai prostitutes on false visas.He admitted he owned Masquerades in court - but the 'women were treated very well'.

Drummond has in fact described Hanks as a former pimp on numerous occasions. Hanks was arrested over a year ago for racketeering in Pattaya, by the Department of Special Investigation, who handed the file over to the Royal Thai Police to expadite.  The police in Pattaya have been inactive on the issue. 

 Hanks was allegedly funding an extortion racket with Russians under which money was lent out to Russians at the rate of 60 per cent per month.

Picture (Pattaya Times) : David Hanks (left) and Drew Noyes (right) with twin Generals at the Army Club in Bangok. The Generals had no idea with whom they were posing.


  1. Great article. Imposing law and order where's there's been none is no easy task. It's one made even harder if those making the attempt either grossly underestimate the problem, or are involved in crime themselves.

  2. It's impossible Andrew. Hypocrisy is endemic and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. The country is a corruptocracy and there it is. They prefer it that way and when the entire diplomatic corps collude in the pretence that it is otherwise then there is no incentive to change. It's much better for all here to smile for the cameras while the dirty work carries on under the table.
    Best to just have another drink, spend some time on the beach, and find something to occupy your time that is independent of the Thai and foreign criminals.
    Nothing will ever change here. They simply make too much money as it is and the acquisition of wealth is the all consuming imperative driving the entire society.

    1. Well written Gerry. You are 100% spot-on here.

    2. One can boycott the nation is what one can do.
      However it would appear to the vast majority of males, cheap sex consistently trumps any kind of holding the nation accountable.

      I'm quite sure Lie land will never change, there is no need to whatsoever. All the Thalk Thalk Thalk is just about luring foreign visitors who the might become investors.

      Stop supporting it

  3. Excellent and concise expose of the problems afflicting Thailand. If you know your history a lot of the problems afflicting Thailand were imported after the revolution in China. Chiang Kai Shek and the imperial army went to Taiwan but all the drug dealers, pimps, gambling lords and black marketeers went to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Penang and Singapore where they set up trafficking and smuggling routes along with prostitution and gambling rackets. They paid the Thais for protection and to be left alone.

    Every province I've been to has a Chinatown where the same things can be found. Drugs, women held in bondage for prostitution and gambling. Yet, I can never ever remember seeing anyone arrested for these things other than for a shakedown. Old Thai guys always said that the Chinese were just too smart and cunning for the Thais, they cheated and swindled their way from selling boiled eggs to being billionaires in some cases. The Thais would let them do what they wanted as long as they paid them a cut, I get the impression this worked until the second and third generation Chinese started to dominate high positions in politics, the military etc. Thaksin was perhaps the classic example of this and as much as he claimed to be Thai he was more like a Chinese warlord from feudal times.

    Many of the modern day fortunes in Thailand were grown from opium trafficking, gambling and prostitution. This turned into hotels, gold shops and resorts etc. The Chinese have of course always controlled all the banking, finance and middleman action. The Chinese love making money, unfortunately traditional Confucian precepts like hard work, the family and frugality all too often become greed, nepotism and graft.

  4. Indeed, and all the banks are Thai/ Chinese which is where it all really matters.

    1. One of the figures I saw was that 56% of bank deposits in Thailand were held by only 6% of the population. I had a Chinese friend who lived in Bangkok, he spoke 4 Chinese languages and even knew Charles Sobraj. He lived in Australia as a student and grew to hate Chinese culture. I remember he'd tell me about how many of these rich families were so rich but the elders couldn't spend the money, they'd just hoard it. He said he hated dealing with Chinese males as all they talked about was money and business.

      He was the guy who told me it was common to hear these Chinese moguls say- 'If you know how much money you've got, you aint got enough.' His other point was that they saw everything in terms of profit. Heroin was profitable, prostitution was a great earner as was loan sharking and gambling. He had a conscious and felt a lot of his fellow Chinese had no compassion or empathy, they worried about their own kids but would happily sell someone else's daughter for cash or lend money to gamblers etc, it takes a certain kind of heartless prick to do these things. I just observed as he pointed all this out and started to see he was so correct. Everything that made real money in Thailand- they controlled.

      He was a great historian about China and he said that with these mega rich families from China, somebody in the family was/is a crook. You just can't make that much in normal daily business like many of them claimed to have done. I have to agree as 30 years later I've had a successful business for that time and I drive a 1992 toyota beater and have no assets or savings.

      Many of these fortunes have also been made with monopolies where they have used corrupt political connections to stifle competition and hold the monopoly. Thaksin again is the perfect example of a guy who worked the connections to get his telecommunications monopoly. Yet for all his cash, he seems like a very unhappy and unsatisfied dude. Maybe there is a message there.

  5. "..Noyes claims he was libeled by a photo-shopped picture lampooning himself and the other fake lawyer Brian Goudie in a gay parade..."

    The denial is a tacit admission, let them lose face, and eat cake, LOL