A leaked video has gone viral on Thai social media with audio of a senior army officer ticking off a soldier who had revealed and spoken out against corruption.
In the video, the voice of Army Ordnance Material Rebuild Center Commander, Maj Gen Apichart Artsantia, can be heard scolding a clerk who had reported harassment from his superiors after publically alleging corruption within the army.
The clerk, Sgt. Narongchai Intharakawi, had reported fraud in relation to his unit’s allowance money to a committee formed in parliament that deals with transparency.
He said that he had spent almost a year trying various channels to report the corruption, but had no luck. He said:
“I have been forced to sign up with the program like many low-ranking men. I have no family or children, so I want to speak out for my colleagues in order to protect them and for the sake of the nation. No serviceman wants to hurt the army, but the commanders should take this matter seriously.”
In the video, the voice of Maj Gen Artsantia can be heard saying:
“You may be able to get away this time, but there’s no next time for you. If you want to argue with your commander, if you believe you’re right, there’s a protocol in place to report it. I have been serving for more than 30 years, justice is delivered in every case. I haven’t seen any injustice before.”
The Major continued by informing the sergeant that he must go through the proper channels to report misconduct and keep the matter in the army. He also warned that if the report is not correct his punishment will be doubled.
Seri Ruam MP, Sereepisut Temiyaves, said he will look into the matter as soon as the emergency decree has ended, which will likely be in July. He continued by saying the case is a serious allegation and will be taken care of “to the best of our ability.”
There has been no response so far from the army top brass, however, Thai citizens have been quick to comment on the video online, pointing out the lack of transparency within the army in general, and linking the corruption to the ruling Prayut government.
The audio of the incident can be heard in the video below: