Prawit Wongsuwan
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Prawit Wongsuwan
Prawit Wongsuwan
? ?
Prawit Wongsuwan (2018) cropped.jpg
Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand

30 August 2014
Prayut Chan-o-cha
Minister of Defence

30 August 2014 - 10 July 2019
Prayut Chan-o-cha
Yingluck Shinawatra
Prayut Chan-o-cha

20 December 2008 - 9 August 2011
Abhisit Vejjajiva
Somchai Wongsawat
Yuthasak Sasiprapha
Leader of the Palang Pracharath Party

27 June 2020
Uttama Savanayon
President of National Olympic Committee of Thailand

5 April 2017
Yuthasak Sasiprapha
Commander in Chief
of the Royal Thai Army

1 October 2004 - 30 September 2005
Thaksin Shinawatra
Chaiyasit Shinawatra
Sonthi Boonyaratglin
Personal details
Born (1945-08-11) 11 August 1945 (age 75)
Bangkok, Thailand
Political partyPalang Pracharath Party
Alma materChulachomklao Royal Military Academy
National Defence College
Net worth87 million baht (declared) (2014)
Signature
Military service
AllegianceThailand
Branch/serviceRoyal Thai Army
Years of service1969-2005
RankGeneral

Prawit Wongsuwan (Thai: ? ?; IPA:[prà.wít w.sù.w?n]; born 11 August 1945) served as Minister of Defence of Thailand from 2008 to 2011 and from 2014 to 2019. He is the deputy chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and also holds the post of deputy prime minister. From 2004 to 2005 he was the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army (RTA). From 2008 to 2011 he was Thailand's defence minister.

Life and career

The ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus, Prawit Wongsuwan (center)

Prawit's father was Major General Prasert Wongsuwan. He has four younger brothers: the Senator Admiral Sithawat Wongsuwan, Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan (the former Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police),former Jewelry and Watch repair technician, deceased football manager Pongphan Wongsuwan, and Phanpong Wongsuwan.

Prawit attended Saint Gabriel's College and Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (class 6, graduated 1965).[] After graduating from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (class 17) in 1969, he became an officer in the 21st Infantry Regiment (Queen's Guard), 2nd Infantry Division. In 1978, he completed the Thai Command and General Staff course. After a failed coup in April 1981, he led in turn both the 2nd and 12th regiments of the 2nd Inf Div.[1] In 1992, he was appointed royal aide-de-camp. In 1996 he was promoted to commander of the 2nd Infantry Division. After graduating from the National Defence College of Thailand in 1997, he became deputy commander, and in 1998 commander of the 1st Army Region (responsible for Bangkok and central Thailand). In 2001, he was appointed assistant chief-of-staff responsible for the army's operative branch. He returned to command the 1st Army Region, before being promoted to deputy commander-in-chief of the army in 2003 and commander-in-chief in 2004.[2] After retiring from active military service, he became a judge at the supreme courts-martial. After the 2006 coup d'état, he was appointed a member of the National Legislative Assembly.[3]

In December 2008 Prawit was appointed minister of defence in Abhisit Vejjajiva's cabinet, serving until August 2011.[4] During the 2010 Thai political protests to which the government reacted with declaring a state of emergency and finally a military crackdown, Prawit was the deputy director, after 5 October 2010 director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation.[5]

Prawit is known as the mentor (or "big brother") of a military clique called the "Burapha Payak (tigers of the east)", who typically start their careers in the 21st Infantry Regiment (nicknamed the "Queen's Tigers") based in Prachinburi in eastern Thailand. This group includes former Commander-in-Chief Anupong Paochinda, and his successor Prayut Chan-o-cha.[6] Kasit Piromya, a former Democrat Party MP who served as foreign minister from 2008 to 2011, said that throughout his career, Prawit has mentored Prayut, helping him climb up the ranks. "Prawit was like a big brother," Kasit said.[2] Prawit is often considered a backer of the anti-government protests during the 2013-14 Thai political crisis, cited as a potential leader in coup rumors (which he denied), or as a possible candidate for prime minister in the event that the anti-government movement should succeed.[7][8]

2014 coup d'état

Prawit Wongsuwan with Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

According to Paul Sanderson, writing for New Mandala, Prawit is "widely considered the architect of the 2014 coup".[9]

After the 22 May 2014 coup d'état, the junta appointed Prawit chairman of its "advisory board".[10] On 31 August 2014 he was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of defence in Prayut's cabinet.[11][12] On 16 September he was also appointed deputy chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).[13] In his multiple roles, Prawit sits on "...more than 50 committees".[14]

Corruption scandal

In December 2017 the National Anti-corruption Commission (NACC) opened an investigation into Prawit's asset disclosures.[15] The NACC gave Prawit until 8 January 2018 to clarify why some Prawit assets, such as the 18 luxury watches that had been identified at the time,[16][17][18] were not listed on his mandatory asset declarations when he took office after the 2014 coup d'etat.[19][20][21] As more watch disclosures became public, the NACC extended Prawit's deadline to 19 January.[22] On 29 December, Worawit Sukboon, secretary general of the NACC said, "We will investigate this case. It won't take a long time because it's not complicated."[23] By law, political office-holders as well as high-ranking officials must report their assets before assuming their posts and after they leave the posts. They are not required to declare assets while in office.[24] He is said to have filed asset declarations on 22 December 2008 when he became defence minister under Abhisit Vejjajiva; on 10 August 2011 when stepping down from that role; on 9 August 2012, one year after stepping down from his previous role; and on 4 September 2014 when he became deputy prime minister and defence minister.[25] On 6 January the Bangkok Post estimated the value of Prawit's 16 then-known timepieces at "...up to 22M[illion baht]" (US$685,000).[16] Since 6 January an additional nine watches have been identified by the Facebook site, CSI_LA,[26] bringing Prawit's total to 25 timepieces, altogether worth almost 40 million baht.[27][28] Prawit claims they were all loaned to him by friends.[29] On 9 January 2018, NACC president, Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, announced he had taken personal charge of the Prawit watch investigation. He promised a "...'professional, transparent' [inquiry], although it will take some time." NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon asked the media not to ask about the matter again until "early next month" (February 2018).[30]

Prawit's undeclared watches
No. Brand Model Est. price (baht) Source
1 Richard Mille RM029 2,500,000 [17]
2 Richard Mille RM30 2,800,000 [17]
3 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ice Blue Dial Platinum 1,800,000 [17]
4 Patek Philippe 5960/1A 1,500,000 [17]
5 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Automatic Blue Dial 800,000 [17]
6 Rolex 116655BKSRS 700,000 [17]
7 Patek Philippe 3970 2,500,000 [17]
8 Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960P 1,900,000 [17]
9 Rolex Pro Hunter Deepsea Blue 800,000 [17]
10 Richard Mille RM010 2,400,000 [17]
11 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, in 18K yellow gold and stainless steel 554,000 [17]
12 Rolex Yacht Master Rose Gold 2-tone 460,000 [16]
13 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400 Stainless Steel 580,000 [16]
14 Rolex Datejust Oyster 41 413,000 [16]
15 Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167R-001 in 18K rose gold 1,150,000 [16]
16 Rolex Day-Date 36 1,200,000 [16]
17 Rolex GMT Master II 1,360,000 []
18 Patek Philippe 5135R Calendario Annual Calendar 1,500,000 [18]
19 A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph, silver dial in 18k rose gold 1,500,000 []
20 Patek Philippe Gold Perpetual Calendar 3,600,000 []
21 Patek Philippe Classic Chronograph 2,600,000 []
22 Rolex Daytona 116523 980,000 []
23 Patek Philippe Complications 5396/1G-001 2,300,000 [31]
24 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Ivory dial 1,000,000 [32]
25 Patek Philippe Complications Annual Calendar 1,500,000 [27]
26 G-Shock BGA150KT-4B 3,900 [17]

The Association to Protect the Thai Constitution, a watchdog group, petitioned the NACC to investigate Prawit for possible false declaration of assets and concealing information that must be declared to the agency. The organisation also accused Prawit of being unusually wealthy under Section 66 of the National Anti-Corruption Act. "Gen Prawit served in the army for about 40 years and was a political office holder for two terms, without any businesses. He could not possibly acquire such a great deal of wealth, a spokesman said.[33] In 2008, Prawit declared assets of 57 million baht. In his 2014 declaration, his assets had risen to 87 million baht.[4]

Personal life

Prawit is single. He enjoys jogging and playing golf in his free time.[34][]

Education

  • Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (AFAPS), 1965[35]
  • Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (CRMA), 1969
  • Command and General Staff College (CGSC), 1978
  • National Defense College (NDC), 1997

Ranks

  • 2nd Infantry Division Queen's Guard, Commanding General, 1996[36]
  • 1st Corps Commander, 1998
  • 1st Army Area Commander, 2002
  • Commander in Chief, RTA, 2004
  • Chairman of the Committee on Independent Body Affairs Groups

Decorations

  • Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Exalted Order of White Elephant, 1997[37]
  • Knight Grand Cordon (Special) of the Most Exalted Order of White Elephant, 2004
  • Grand Companion (Third Class, Higher Grade) of the Most Illustrious Order of Chulachomklao, 2005

See also

References

  1. ^ Pongsudhirak, Thitinan (5 October 2018). "Thailand's new military and new politics" (Opinion). Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ a b Strangio, Sebastian (2015-05-21). "The Strongman of Siam". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ ? ?, Thairath.co.th[failed verification]
  4. ^ a b "Prawit in the soup over fancy trinkets". Bangkok Post. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ "Thai Cabinet extends state of emergency in Bangkok, 3 adjacent provinces". MCOT. 5 October 2010.
  6. ^ John Cole; Steve Sciacchitano (13 October 2012), "Thai military resists political pressure", Asia Times, archived from the original on 21 February 2014, retrieved 2014
  7. ^ Wassana Nanuam (12 December 2013). "'Silent' military coup beats having a real one". Bangkok Post.
  8. ^ Jason Szep; Amy Sawitta Lefevre (13 December 2013), Powerful forces revealed behind Thai protest movement, Reuters
  9. ^ Sanderson, Paul (2016-08-18). "A new breed of terror in Thailand". New Mandala. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "Prawit, Somkid, Pridiyathorn named advisers". Bangkok Post. 27 May 2014.
  11. ^ Saiyasombut, Saksith (2014-09-01). "7 observations about Thailand's new, junta-picked cabinet". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ "Prayuth 1 cabinet endorsed". Bangkok Post. 31 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Somkid, Meechai sit on NCPO". Bangkok Post. 16 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Prawit moved to 'ease work'". Bangkok Post. 17 August 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ "Credibility of NACC on line" (Editorial). Bangkok Post. 9 December 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Prawit's hide-and-seek game drags on". Bangkok Post. 6 January 2018. p. 1. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Prawit seen with another pricey watch". Bangkok Post. 28 December 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ a b Nanuam, Wassana (10 January 2018). "18th Prawit watch identified as B1.5m Patek Philippe". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ Rojanaphruk, Pravit (19 December 2017). "Has the Watch Struck Four for Embattled Prawit?". Khaosod English. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ Charuvastra, Teeranai (20 December 2017). "Prawit Watch Watch: And Then There Were Five". Khaosod English. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ Thaitrakulpanich, Asaree (22 December 2017). "Watch Watch: Seven Bling Timepieces and Counting". Khaosod English. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ Itthipongmaetee, Chayanit (6 January 2018). "CORRUPTION COMMISSION TO QUESTION 4 OVER PRAWIT WATCH SCANDAL LINK". Khaosod English. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ Thaitrakulpanich, Asaree (2017-12-29). "Prawit Files His Watch Response--and NACC Keeps it Secret". Khaosod English. Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ "Corruption chief feels 'no pressure' in watch scandal". The Nation. 10 December 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ Sattaburuth, Aekarach (15 December 2017). "Activist slams new Prawit watch find". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ "CSI_LA". CSI-LA. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ a b "Prawit watch claim stirs ridicule". Bangkok Post. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ Bunyamanee, Soonruth (17 January 2018). "Fate's clock ticking faster for Prawit, PM" (Editorial). Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ "Prawit to resign if NACC watch probe finds him guilty". Bangkok Post. 16 January 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  30. ^ "NACC assures over Prawit watch probe". Bangkok Post. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ "No time frame set for probe into Prawit's luxury watches". Thai PBS. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ "Irate Prawit defends watches, refuses to resign". Bangkok Post. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ "Clock ticking for blinged-out Prawit". Bangkok Post. 8 December 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ "Military of Defence". Archived from the original on 2007-03-06.[not specific enough to verify]
  35. ^ "Ministry of Defence". Archived from the original on 2007-03-06.[not specific enough to verify][not specific enough to verify]
  36. ^ "Ministry of Defence". Archived from the original on 2007-03-06.[not specific enough to verify][not specific enough to verify]
  37. ^ "Ministry of Defence". Archived from the original on 2007-03-06.[not specific enough to verify]
Military offices
Preceded by
Chaiyasit Shinawatra
Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army
2004-2005
Succeeded by
Sonthi Boonyaratglin
Political offices
Preceded by
Somchai Wongsawat
Minister of Defence
2008-2011
Succeeded by
Yuthasak Sasiprapha
Preceded by
Yingluck Shinawatra
Minister of Defence
2014-2019
Succeeded by
Prayut Chan-o-cha
Preceded by
Pracha Phromnok [th]
Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
2014-present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Yuthasak Sasiprapha
President of National Olympic Committee of Thailand
2017-present
Succeeded by
Incumbent

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