|Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand|
30 August 2014
|Minister of Defence|
30 August 2014 - 10 July 2019
20 December 2008 - 9 August 2011
|Leader of the Palang Pracharath Party|
27 June 2020
|President of National Olympic Committee of Thailand|
5 April 2017
|Commander in Chief |
of the Royal Thai Army
1 October 2004 - 30 September 2005
|Born||11 August 1945|
|Political party||Palang Pracharath Party|
|Alma mater||Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy |
National Defence College
|Net worth||87 million baht (declared) (2014)|
|Branch/service||Royal Thai Army|
|Years of service||1969-2005|
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.
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. 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. 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.
In December 2008 Prawit was appointed minister of defence in Abhisit Vejjajiva's cabinet, serving until August 2011. 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.
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. 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. 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.
According to Paul Sanderson, writing for New Mandala, Prawit is "widely considered the architect of the 2014 coup".
After the 22 May 2014 coup d'état, the junta appointed Prawit chairman of its "advisory board". On 31 August 2014 he was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of defence in Prayut's cabinet. On 16 September he was also appointed deputy chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). In his multiple roles, Prawit sits on "...more than 50 committees".
In December 2017 the National Anti-corruption Commission (NACC) opened an investigation into Prawit's asset disclosures. 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, were not listed on his mandatory asset declarations when he took office after the 2014 coup d'etat. As more watch disclosures became public, the NACC extended Prawit's deadline to 19 January. 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." 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. 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. 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). Since 6 January an additional nine watches have been identified by the Facebook site, CSI_LA, bringing Prawit's total to 25 timepieces, altogether worth almost 40 million baht. Prawit claims they were all loaned to him by friends. 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).
|No.||Brand||Model||Est. price (baht)||Source|
|3||Rolex||Cosmograph Daytona Ice Blue Dial Platinum||1,800,000|||
|5||Audemars Piguet||Royal Oak Chronograph Automatic Blue Dial||800,000|||
|8||Patek Philippe||Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960P||1,900,000|||
|9||Rolex||Pro Hunter Deepsea Blue||800,000|||
|11||Rolex||Cosmograph Daytona, in 18K yellow gold and stainless steel||554,000|||
|12||Rolex||Yacht Master Rose Gold 2-tone||460,000|||
|13||Audemars Piguet||Royal Oak 15400 Stainless Steel||580,000|||
|14||Rolex||Datejust Oyster 41||413,000|||
|15||Patek Philippe||Aquanaut 5167R-001 in 18K rose gold||1,150,000|||
|17||Rolex||GMT Master II||1,360,000|||
|18||Patek Philippe||5135R Calendario Annual Calendar||1,500,000|||
|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|||
|23||Patek Philippe||Complications 5396/1G-001||2,300,000|||
|24||Rolex||Cosmograph Daytona, Ivory dial||1,000,000|||
|25||Patek Philippe||Complications Annual Calendar||1,500,000|||
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. In 2008, Prawit declared assets of 57 million baht. In his 2014 declaration, his assets had risen to 87 million baht.
Prawit is single. He enjoys jogging and playing golf in his free time.
| Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army
| Minister of Defence
| Minister of Defence
| Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
| President of National Olympic Committee of Thailand