Law bodies let us down

Bangkok police chief Sanit Mahathavorn has been the focus of news reports in recent months, not for his crime-busting abilities, but a decidedly non-police matter. Last November, as required of all members of the junta's National legislative Assembly, of which he is one, Pol Lt Gen Sanit submitted a summary list of assets to the National Anti-Corruption Committee (NACC) as required by law. The police chief made it clear to the authorities that he was in receipt every month of a flat fee of 50,000 baht for his role as an adviser to the country's biggest beverage empire. Three separate "bait-and-switch" incidents then occurred, and the public were the victims each time.

The primary investigation into this revelation by Pol Lt Gen Sanit fell to the NACC. It had generated the report in the first place, then made it public. Yet, astoundingly, the NACC simply released the details of the policeman's assets, as it did with other NLA members, without accompanying commentary. Anyone who expected the country's premier anti-corruption authority to at the very least investigate such a highly contentious source of income was badly let down.

The second "bait-and-switch" was instituted by Pol Lt Gen Sanit himself. The Bangkok police chief withstood a few days of mainstream and social media outrage, including calls in this column for his resignation, without much comment. Then suddenly he appeared in public and asked for a month to come up with a response. And then he disappeared from sight. The public and the media took the bait and for the most part refrained from fuelling the doubts.

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