Thanphuying Viriya Chavakul, chairwoman of the Foundation for the Boosting of Morale for the Military, Police and Patrol Volunteers under Royal Patronage, might face some sleepless nights after her name surfaced in newspaper headlines in connection with a bombshell accusation from Sondhi Limthongkul.
He had claimed that “a lady working closely with royalty” was involved in a plot to kill him with war weapons, which he said amounted to a kathin samakkhi, or “collective kathin merit-making ceremony”.
This charge prompted Viriya, known to have wide connections with the military, to come out and deny any involvement in the assassination plot.
“Oh, I’m just a lady, without a husband. How could I have thought an influence to do such a thing against Khun Sondhi? I have never had that kind of thinking. I only get involved in charity work,” she told INN Online.
At a long-awaited news conference, Sondhi did not hold his punches. He toyed around with the Thai language in the subtlest way. He said that news events had been pointing to Viriya, General Prawit Wongsuwan, the interior minister and Army chief General Anupong Paochinada.
“But I would like to clarify that I do not believe these people are the masterminds because they have all come out with denials. Particularly, Khun Viriya Chavakul has raucously denied any role,” Sondhi said.
“But I would like to say one thing that in my opinion, and this is an assumption, an assumption that is not true, if it is true, then I have no ill feelings towards her. I have forgiven her…
“Khun Viriya has come out to say that she had not been involved with (the assassination plot) and I am so glad that she was not involved. But I would like to give a warning, which is the ultimate truth, that we might be able to tell a lie to other people, but we can’t tell a lie to ourselves.
“Our conscience will be with us until the day we pass away from this world. If we do something wrong, we might die in the most torturous way. So I am very glad that Khun Viriya has denied that she was involved. I would like to give her my blessing.”
The Thai language is one of the world’s richest, with tricky plays on words and double entendres. Sondhi displayed his skill in the Thai language by making his accusation without accusing anybody.
It is interesting to note that Sondhi called his enemies by their names and took the liberty to remove their titles, calling them Khun Viriya instead of Thanphuying Viriya, Khun Prawit instead of General Prawit, Khun Anupong instead of General Anupong.
After dropping the bomb, Sondhi said he would take a holiday. This would allow police to do their job. Police are expected to arrest the suspected hitmen this month. Four to five pickup trucks with at least 12 gunmen, believed to be military professionals, were involved in the failed attempt on Sondhi’s life.
By The Nation Political Desk
Published on May 4, 2009
The story ”Thanpuying denies plotting to kill Sondhi” published on page one of the Bangkok Post yesterday incorrectly said Thanpuying Viriya Chavakul was a lady-in-waiting to Her Majesty the Queen.
In fact, according to Thanpuying Charungjit Teekara, deputy private secretary to Her Majesty, confirmed Thanpuying Viriya has not been appointed a lady-in-waiting.
All activities and business conducted by Thanpuying Viriya, even if she has been doing such activity on acted as chairwoman of a foundation, are Thanpuying Viriya’s personal affairs. They have nothing to do with the palace, Thanpuying Charungjit said.
Thanpuying Charungjit said a lady-in-waiting must be appointed by His Majesty the King and the appointment must be announced in the Royal Gazette. Thanpuying Viriya also holds no position in the Bureau of the Royal Household, Thanpuying Charungjit said.
We regret the error.
The Bangkok Post regrets the error
“Powerful man wants to send powerful message” : Sondhi
Sondhi claims assassination plot means nobody is safe
People’s Alliance for Democracy leader Sondhi Limthongkul yesterday blamed rogue soldiers for trying to kill him, attributing the motive to a desire to end the mass movement by the yellow and red shirts, but stopped short of naming names.
It was his first press conference after he was seriously wounded in the April 17 gun attack on his car.
“The attempt on my life is meant to send out a signal to mass movement leaders, regardless of red shirts or yellow shirts, to disband,” Sondhi said.
He said he suspected the gun attack was also designed to threaten Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
“If I was killed, then this means Abhisit can also be the next target. In this country men with guns can do anything without thinking how Thailand will survive,” he said.
He said he was picked as the assassination target for two reasons – one was to intimidate the media because of his dual role as a media professional and the other was to undermine the mass movement because he was the PAD leader.
Based on his eyewitness account of the gun attack, he said the gunmen were well-trained soldiers.
He said he clearly saw the men spraying bullets from assault rifles like M-16s and AK-47s from a distance of 20 meters.
The men sat on the back of a pickup truck to open fire like in military training, he said. About four trucks were involved in the gun attack and about 10 men were part of the operation.
It was a suspicious coincidence that all five security cameras at the scene were out of order at the time of the gun attack, he said.
“I suspect a powerful figure might be involved as an accomplice,” he said.
It was unlikely that the attack would occur during the state of emergency were there not a green light from higher echelons, he said.
He said certain rogue soldiers carried out the attack, which he did not believe was condoned by the Royal Thai Armed Forces.
He said he noted that none of the top military leaders showed any concern or sympathy for his plight.
He pointed out that rogue soldiers did not just attempt to take his life but were also involved in grenade attacks at Don Mueang Airport, the Constitution Court and Government House during the street protests by the yellow shirts.
As to the masterminds, he said he did not suspect Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, Army chief General Anupong Paochinda and philanthropist Thanphuying Viraya Javakul.
The use of military weapons has raised speculation about the military’s hand in the attack, while Viriya has been forced to come out and deny any involvement after Sondhi claimed a certain high-profile woman was among those who chipped in to sponsor the assault.
Sondhi ended his news conference with the sarcastic remark that those responsible for the attempt on his life would have to live with the guilt for the rest of their lives even though they would be able to get themselves off the legal hook.
He vowed to continue leading the PAD-led mass movement after his recuperation in the United States. He said he was on doctor’s orders to rest.
He also said he expects police to announce the arrest of the gunmen this month.
By The Nation
Published on May 4, 2009
Army Chief Threatens to Sue Those Linking Him to Sondhi Case
The Army chief has denied being close to high-profile philanthropist Thanpuying Viraya Javakul and has threatened to sue anyone who accuses him of involvement in the assassination attempt against People’s Alliance for Democracy founder Sondhi Limthongkul.
Army Commander-in-Chief General Anupong Paojinda insisted the Army is happy to co-operate in the investigation into the attempted assassination of Sondhi, a senior leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, or PAD. His statement follows Sondhi’s claim that low-ranking soldiers acted as the gunmen in the attack, and after military-issued ammunition was found to have been used.
General Anupong insisted anyone found involved in the attack, even Army officials, would face legal punishment. He added that he had not seen the police report regarding the ammunition used but said the Army had provided investigators information about its own ammunition.
General Anupong also denied that he is close to Thanpuying Viraya Javakul, who was once criticised by Sondhi for accepting a cash donation from fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for her charity foundation. Viraya has come out do deny any involvement in the attempt on Sondhi’s life.
Anupong threatened to file defamation suit against anyone who accuses him of being involved in the plot.
TAN Network / May 6, 2009