Thailand’s first female prime minister yesterday told the man who ousted her government two years ago to investigate his own brother over corruption allegations, in an unusually strong broadside against the junta.
Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was booted from office shortly before then-army chief Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power in May 2014, the military’s second coup in less than a decade and their 12th successful power grab since 1932.
Since then she has been hit with a series of junta-led prosecutions, including a retroactive impeachment, an ongoing criminal negligence trial that could see her jailed for up to a decade and a separate move to seize more than US$1 billion in civil damages.
“The prime minister says that all the legal actions against me are based on the law and are not bullying,” Yingluck wrote on her Facebook account yesterday. “I would like the prime minister to apply the same logic and justice given to me like he gives justice and protection to his brother and other people who are on his side. Because the laws should be enforced for everyone, not just used only against my side.”
Yingluck’s comments were a direct reference to new corruption allegations that have surfaced this month against Prayuth’s brother, Preecha Chan-ocha, who is also a senior army general.
Local media said one of Preecha’s sons had won a series of lucrative construction contracts from Thailand’s Third Army, which Preecha used to command.
It is not the first time the junta chief’s brother has had to deny negative headlines.
Earlier this year he admitted helping another son land a well-paid officer’s job in the military.
And when the junta ordered senior officials to reveal their wealth Preecha had US$1.2 million in his bank account — money he said was military assets he was looking after and not his own personal wealth.
Prayuth yesterday appeared to distance himself from his brother in comments after returning from New York, the first time he has addressed the issue in detail.
“A brother is a brother, it’s not the same as me,” he said. “He is not stupid, but I do not make a guarantee for him because it is his responsibility.”
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