Thailand News Today | Progress on Thai Airways – Rolls Royce scandal


Thailand’s anti corruption body names names over the Thai Airways Rolls Royce engine scandal.

Isranews, says the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission has declared it has grounds to “support the allegation” that former finance minister ทนง พิทยะ broke the law during negotiations to buy Rolls Royce engines for new Airbus jets at the time.

Mr Thanong, was serving as Thai Airways chairman, and the airline’s adviser at the time of the decisions. Rolls Royce admitted in January 2017 that it had bribed Thai government officials in the 1980s and 90s so they would buy aircraft engines from the famous British jet engine manufacturer for Thai Airways.

At the time the British Serious Fraud Office found out that Rolls-Royce had agreed to paying 254 million baht to “individuals” to secure a deal with the Thai government, who were majority shareholders of the airline at the time, to purchase Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines for six Boeing 777 aircraft and Trent 500 engines for seven Airbus A340 aircraft. The A340 aircraft would go on to be one of the most spectacular loss-makers for the national airline.

The NACC has already decided to formally accuse ten out of twenty six men linked to the Rolls-Royce bribery scandal.

The NACC probe comes five years after Rolls-Royce admitted misconduct to the British Serious Fraud Office in 2017. At the time, it was revealed that the bribes reached over 1.25 billion baht and were paid to secure Thai Airway’s purchase of the engines.

Thai Airways never financially recovered from the huge outlay it made for the Rolls Royce engine and the scandal kicked off two decades of poor performance, followed by crippling losses.



The four day censure debate kicks off today againt the Thai PM and his cabinet ministers. The actual no confidence motion will be put to the vote on Saturday after four days of drilling from opposition MPs.

The Thai prime minister has survived three other no confidence motions during his tenure at the top job. It will also be the last that can be scheduled with an election having to be called before March in 2023.

The fourth censure motion brought against him and his government also has the least predictable outcome with minor parties in the coalition openly canvassing votes against Prayut this time. The debate also follows a disastrous showing of Palang Pracharat candidates in both the recent Bangkok governor election and a bi-election in northern Thailand 10 days ago.

16 MPs from the Setthakij Thai Party pulled out of the government coalition just last week, vowing to vote against PM Prayut and the cabinet ministers targeted in the censure.

In the last censure debate in 2021, former deputy agriculture minister and convicted heroin trafficker Thammanat Prompau, was ousted from his ministerial position and the inner circle, along with 20 other members of his faction, for plotting to vote with the opposition, not for heroin trafficking, that part was okay.

Now, as leader of the Setthakij Thai Party, Thammanat has openly defied the PM and indicated his MPs will vote with the opposition in this censure debate.

Another 16 MPs, under the moniker “Group of 16”, including members of the PM’s own Palang Pracharat Party, are also in doubt, with many of the MPs openly displaying their dismay of the current situation.

But the public health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul says his Bhumjaithai Party will continue to show full support for the current PM and Cabinet. The Bhumjaithai Party won 51 seats and has bolstered its ranks to 60 following defections from other parties. But Anutin’s power base could command up to 80 votes that he could call on if the vote became tight.

Deputy PM and veteran politician Wissanu Kreangam says the opposition parties will need at least 239 MPs to vote against the PM. He claims, as the numbers stack up leading into today’s debates, that they only have 206 votes.

There are 45 hours allocated to the censure debate. 30 of those hours will be dedicated to questioning the PM and his Cabinet about their handling of the pandemic in Thailand and the rushed decriminalisation of the happy plant to appease their Bhumjaithai coalition partners.



Human Rights Watch said today that Thai authorities should immediately drop charges and release pro-democracy activists detained for insulting the monarchy.

Two of the activists, เนติพร เสน่ห์สังคม and ณัฐนิช ดวงมุสิทธิ์, have been on a hunger strike since June to protest their pretrial detention at Bangkok’s Central Women Correctional Institution. On July 18, the two activists collapsed during a witness examination at the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court due to severe stomach pains and fatigue.

John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch said that “Thai authorities should drop the politically motivated cases against เนติพร, ณัฐนิช, and others charged for their peaceful protests to reform the monarchy,” and added that “The Thai government is harshly punishing these activists by unnecessarily holding them in prolonged pretrial detention instead of releasing them prior to trial.”

Netiporn and Nutthanit have regularly advocated reforming the monarchy. The authorities have charged them with various criminal offenses, including lese majeste, for conducting a public opinion poll on February 8 about royal motorcades. Since May 3, the authorities have held them in pretrial detention, and that detention has been repeatedly extended.

Human Rights Watch said that holding those charged with lese majeste in pretrial detention violates their rights under international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand ratified in 1996, encourages bail for criminal suspects.

Sifton added that “The Thai government should permit peaceful expression of all viewpoints, including questions about the monarchy. It should engage with UN experts and others about amending the lese majeste law to bring it into compliance with international human rights standards.”

But meanwhile, The number of lese majeste cases in Thailand has significantly increased in the past year. Officials have charged more than 200 people with lese majeste crimes in relation to various activities at pro-democracy rallies or comments on social media.



A new report has revealed that dozens of Thai democracy activists were targeted by a spyware programme called Pegasus during the height of anti-government protests over the past two years.

The joint report, by the Thai NGO iLaw, Digital Reach, and The Citizen Lab, claims that the phones of 30 activists, academics, lawyers, and NGO workers, mostly connected to civil rights organisations, were affected spanning 2020 and 2021.

The findings originated from notifications sent by Apple to Thai activists that they had been targeted with the spyware in November 2021. Amnesty International’s Security Lab independently confirmed five of the cases in the report through forensic analysis.

Etienne Maynier, Technologist at Amnesty International, said…

“We can now officially add Thailand to the growing list of countries where people peacefully calling for change, expressing an opinion, or discussing government policies may trigger invasive surveillance with a profound toll on an individual’s freedom of expression, privacy, and sense of security.

He added that “Instead of listening and engaging with these protesters, academics, and human rights defenders, intrusive surveillance has been used to harass, intimidate, and target them. These new revelations are a shocking example of just how low authorities might stoop to control peaceful dissent.”

Amnesty states that countries have obligations under international law to not only respect human rights but to protect them from abuse by third parties, including private companies. Amnesty International’s Security Lab uncovered instances of targeting using Pegasus in Morocco-Western Sahara, El Salvador, The Occupied Palestinian Territories, Poland, and Spain.

NSO Group, the company behind Pegasus, claims that it only sells products to government intelligence and law enforcement agencies….whatever you say to sleep at night.


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