5 March 2015
Former Central Investigations Bureau chief, Lt. Gen. Pongpat Chayapan, is now serving 31 years’ jail term for crimes including money laundering, extortion and taking bribes from oil smugglers, illegal gambling dens and police officers seeking promotions.
Pongpat’s arrest followed estrangement of Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and his third wife, the former Princess Srirasmi. Pongpat is Srirasm’s uncle. Pongpat took advantage of his relationship with Crown Prince to loot as much as he could.
Former Princes Srirasmi received $6.2 million from crown property bureau for relinquishing her royal titles. After her separation from the Crown Prince, her brothers, a sister and her uncle, Police Lt. Gen. Pongpat Chayapan, were accused in number of widespread corruption.
The police ceased 27,000 valuable items in his possession and also 104 plots of land. The Buddha statues found in his possession were turned over to Fine Arts Department. Ivory tusks, gold bars, luxury cars and diamond jewelry are held by the anti-money-laundering agency. Other items are being sold on public auctions.  The items on auction include Rolex watches and some very expensive French wine — a $4,000 bottle of Petrus and choice vintages of Dom Perignon.
Not many people are talking about it or asking questions because widely interpreted lese majeste laws can send them to 15 years in jail. The number people sent to jail after military took power last year has increased.
The International Federation of Human Rights says that 40 people have been arrested on lese majeste charges since the coup. Lese majeste trials are held in secret in military courts and bail is systemically denied to defendant. Some people are even clamoring for the repeal of lese majeste law.