Thailand’s ‘influential figures’ list: Shedding light on dark influence

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The Deputy Interior Minister of Thailand confirmed the completion of a list containing 600-700 individuals deemed as “influential figures” known for their dark influence across the nation. This list is set to be discussed at a committee meeting on Tuesday.

In this register, less than a hundred individuals are classified as hardcore, falling under the Red group. The remaining majority are categorised in the Yellow group, which includes a small number of freelancers suspected of being hired gunmen.

Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaiset declined to provide any further specifics, stating that the list remained confidential and would require cross-verification with the databases of police and security agencies.

The list will undergo an initial screening process conducted by a committee established by the Interior Ministry. This will be followed by a detailed examination to ascertain whether the individuals listed have been involved in any of the 16 categories of crimes that categorise a person as an influential figure or someone wielding nefarious influence.

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These 16 categories of crimes encompass illegal money lending, collusion in bidding for government work contracts, the imposition of unauthorised brokerage fees on bus operators, acts of business extortion, smuggling, operating gambling establishments, involvement in the illegal sex trade, human smuggling, defrauding workers seeking employment overseas, engaging in tourist scams, acting as a hired gunman, forceful debt collection, trading in war weapons and other illegal firearms, encroachment on state land and natural resource destruction, soliciting bribes on public roads, and participation in illicit drug activities

Chada also mentioned his plan to meet with village chiefs (phuyaiban) and subdistrict chiefs (kamnan) across the nation to encourage a shift in attitude. Local leaders will be advised to abstain from any illegal activities. Individuals assuming the roles of village and subdistrict chiefs will also be required to undergo urine tests, reports Bangkok Post.

Interestingly, Chada himself was once classified as an “influential person” in his home province of Uthai Thani.

He acknowledged this.

“I have proved that I have not done anything illegal. I am no longer an influential person. I am now a Cabinet minister working for the country.”

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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