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Critics of Thailand’s Junta Slam Decision to Acquit Deputy PM Over the Luxury Watch Scandal

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BANGKOK – Critics of Thailand’s Junta Government have slammed the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) decision to acquit Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwon over the Luxury Watch scandal which prompted public curiosity over their ownership, causing a search that uncovered 22 other luxury watches on his wrist at one time or other.

A spokesmen for the Pheu Thai and Thai Raksa Chart parties said on Friday that the (NACC) has set a precedent for excuses in future asset-concealment cases by clearing Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon in the luxury watches scandal.

Watanarak Suranatyut, deputy spokesman for Pheu Thai, said his party questioned the NACC’s resolution announced on Thursday and would like to know why the commission believed all the expensive watches belonged to Gen Prawit’s deceased friend Patthawat Suksriwong.

Graphics produced by A photo from Facebook’s CSI-LA showing a tally of watches allegedly worn by the deputy PM.

Mr Watanarak said Pheu Thai was suspicious about why someone would allow the loan of so many watches, worth about 100 million baht, why they had been lent and why their return had not been demanded.

Patthawat, the former owner of the telecommunications company Com-Link, died in February last year. Gen Prawit was first spotted wearing a luxury watch in December last year.

“The resolution of the NACC triggers doubts among Thai people. Can anyone else also escape prosecution by making such an excuse as a loan?” the Pheu Thai deputy spokesman said.

“Watches are personal belongings. Is it possible for so many friends to borrow them? People have different sized wrists,” Mr Watanarak said.

He demanded the NACC show evidence of possession of the luxury watches, saying sellers of such expensive products should register their owners.

Khattiya Sawasidipol, deputy spokesperson of Thai Raksa Chart, also said the NACC’s resolution would allow people suspected of assets concealment to cite being on loan as an excuse.

The NACC investigation and decision in the case raised doubts about its credibility, he said.

By Aekarach Sattaburuth
The Bangkok Post