Por Pratunam cleared of casino charge

The Appeal Court on Friday upheld the acquittal of the notorious godfather Paijit Thammarojpinij, alias Por Pratunam, on a charge of running an illegal casino.

The court also sentenced Wanchai Sae-Liaw, one  of seven other defendants facing the same charge, to one year in prison, effective immediately.

The case stemmed from a police raid on a casino on Feb 4, 2006 in Soi Charoen Suk on Ratchaprarop Road in the Pratunam area. Mr Paijit was gambling there at the time.

Mr Paijit and his wife Umpa were charged with jointly operating a gambling den since 2003. Also charged with the same offence were Mr Paijit's daughter Prapapan, Mr Wanchai, Surin Wongdama, Somchai Boonmunsaensook, Jongsak Chuerwichian and Umnart Meesrikamonkul.

In addition, Mr Paijit and Mrs Umpa were charged with conspiring to possess stolen goods; having in possession and purchasing goods on which tax had not been paid; and possessing more than 120 playing cards not approved by the Excise Department.

Mr Surin and Mr Somchai were also charged with conspiring to possess stolen goods.

According to the police, Mr Paijit and his wife had smuggled in 15 slot machines, 9,862 betting chips and 1,507 decks of cards.

All of the defendants denied the charges.

In September 2012, the Criminal Court acquitted all of the accused except Mr Wanchai on the charge of conspiracy to run a gambling operation.

According to the court's ruling, Mr Paijit's wife had transferred the ownership of the building that had been modified into a casino to Mr Wanchai prior to the arrests. The court said there were insufficient witnesses and evidence to prove that the other seven were involved in the gambling operation.

Mr Wanchai claimed he used the building as a sewing factory. However, evidence and witnesses' testimony confirmed that the man was the owner of the gambling den. Mr Wanchai then appealed for his acquittal.

The court did not rule on the other charges.

The prosecuting attorney assigned to the case had also appealed against the original judgement, insisting that Mr Paijit be punished as well.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 28/12/2013 at 01:57 PM
The whole of Bangkok knows who is the mastermind and operator of this 'legal' casino for years! Maybe RTP can confirmed this existence !! LOL
Discussion 2 : 28/12/2013 at 07:03 AM
Love the Thai injustice system
Discussion 3 : 27/12/2013 at 11:34 PM
Because corruption is widely accepted by the Thais, as published in the media, after many polls. According to them corruption is ok, as long as they benefit from it. Weird way of thinking really.
Discussion 4 : 27/12/2013 at 09:25 PM
Everyone screams about Thaksin corruption; this case and many others like it are a perfect example of the old order corruption that is ignored totally, even when it is presented to us clearly on a silver salver, in plain light of day. Why?
Discussion 5 : 27/12/2013 at 07:34 PM
I think this part of the problem in Thailand, decisions made on the basis of PuYai and money under the table deals; at least that"s what it seems to me.

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