It happened just days ago, two words said in sequence by a judge that people in Thailand thought they would never hear. The two words that rang Through the courtroom and heard across Thailand were “Shinawatra Guilty”. The wife of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was found guilty of tax evasion and now faces 3 years in prison.
There was significant interest in this case as many thought the Shinawatra’s would have bribed the court and been found innocent. But this story is not so much about a criminal being found guilty, it is about the message this ruling sent to the corrupt politicians and their families.
The news outlets in Thailand were all buzzing with speculation as to what this meant and what Thailand’s future would be like. But underneath all of that one thing is certain, you can expect the corrupt politicians to shift into high gear to save their own ass as what was uncertain before the Shinawatra guilty verdict, is now clear as day and to them as dark as a cell in the local prison.
The body language of Thaksin Shinawatra while sitting in court said it all, he was not thinking about his wife, he was thinking about his own pending verdict due later this year. The failed attempt to bribe the court in his own case that sent 3 of his lawyers to jail for six months speaks of the attitude of the court, and this is something Thaksin has never faced before. Up until now a fist full of money solved all his problems, however the higher courts appeared to have changed their diet from greens to meat.
Thaksin’s own words are now once again coming back to haunt him even amongst his supporters in Isaan. For months Thaksin made a big thing about not getting a fair trial while the junta and their appointed government was running the show, and that was his public excuse for his “Self Imposed Exile”. The moment Thaksin set foot on Thai soil, it signified that he now felt the system was fair. Even to the least educated Thaksin supporter, all the exaggerated body language and show Thaksin put on at the airport by kissing the ground sent the message that things are now right and fair in Thailand.
Thaksin has indicated that he will not seek asylum in another country and he will stay and fight. However as Thaksin tends to say opposite of the truth probably means he will at some point run and hide in light of the courts change in diet..
The People Power Party (PPP) that is spoken to be run by Thaksin from behind the scenes, has fallen into disarray. However as beat up as the PPP is, they still are dead set on making past or future crimes they commit more difficult to prosecute, or make them legal all together by gutting the Constitution. The PPP has shown numerous time that they have absolutely no morals and no ethics. They are certainly motivated by the fact that a significant number of the PPP have cases in the court system. The exercise of attempting to Modify the Constitution serves nobody except themselves.
Even the breakaway party from the PPP lead coalition shows signs of corrupt politicians in their ranks where morals and ethics are in short supply. When the party leader who seemed to have some ethics parted ways with the PPP, not everyone in the party felt that was a good idea so many chose to stay.
During the month of August thinks will be happening at an increased pace. Thaksin will be rethinking his options as his world continues to implode on him. In reality as things look, he has only one option to avoid jail, and that is to flee Thailand for the rest of his life.
As for Thailand itself, this could be a defining moment where rampant corruption and greed are place in check. It is too soon to tell, but by the time the end of the year rolls around, things should be fairly obvious what way they are going.