Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bangkok Post: : Thailand's Millionaire Generals

( - Deputy Prime Minister Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, his two wives and an underage daughter have assets of more than 94 million baht, according to National Counter Corruption Commission.

Gen Sonthi, former army chief and former chairman of Council for National Security, has assets of 38.79 million baht while his first wife Sukalaya has assets of 14.04 million baht. His second wife Piyada has assets of 42.07 million baht.

Their daughter Sasipa has assets of more than 300,000 baht.

Gen Sonthi declared the assets when he took the position of deputy prime minister on Oct 5.

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont also declared his assets when he took the interior minister post on the same day.

According to the NCCC, Gen Surayud has assets of 24 million baht, which is 1.2 million baht lower than the time he declared his assets when he took the office shortly after the Sept 19 coup.

His wife Thanpuying Chitravadee has assets of 67 million baht, which is 1.9 million baht higher than last year.

Both the premier and wife have assets of more than 91 million baht.

Oh, Thailand's millionaire generals.

Fascinating how the generals of Thailand, a middle income country with a small defense budget($3-$4 billion), make more money than US generals, who are responsible for a 2 million plus man force and have an annual defense budget of $400 billion.

According to CNN, a US general who has been active for over 26 years makes roughly $156,000 a year. This info is a bit dated, so it is probably around $165,000.

Now, I am curious, why is it that the Bangkok Post and The Nation are afraid of posting the pay scale for Thai military officers?

Why is the Bangkok Post and The Nation afraid to do an analysis of their assets?

Some may say that Surayud and Sonthi have very productive wives, who bring home the bacon.

Well, Surayud's wife is an army officer, so she doesn't make any money from legitimate sources. Interesting that she lower in rank than Surayud, but has almost triple the assets.


hot_riff said...

As far as i know, the PM inherits sufficient wealth from his ancestors who were elites in the old time.

However, this is not to confirm that he is a very virtuous man.

Anonymous said...

Thai generals make a lot more, definitely lots lots more, than American generals.

But for a junta chief, General Sonthi's declared assets disappoints. The last junta chief before General Sonthi was General Sunthorn and his wealth was more 'in tune' with his station.

Following General Sunthorn's death due to cancer, a scandal arose over the distribution of his estate. His will left most of his approximately 150 million U.S. dollar fortune to his mistress. His wife sued to have the will declared void. However, questions arose on how a general earning a little over US$1,000 a month could accumulate such a large personal fortune. Because Thaksin Shinawatra had publicly acknowledged "Big Jod" or General Sunthorn as man responsible for Shinawatra Group's existence, public suspicion lingers that Thaksin Shinawatra himself may have been the 'mysterious source' of General Sunthorn's unusual wealth.