Hatred is not the only big worry in Thailand

Hatred is not the only big worry in Thailand

Saturday, January 25, 2014 – 15:23

The Nation/Asia News Network

THAILAND – The political crisis has become extremely dangerous not only because the hatred is feeding off itself, but also because law-enforcement officers are seen as biased in favour of the government.

Whether the police are intentionally partisan or are being pushed into a corner is debatable, but that doesn’t matter much now. The country is in serious trouble because, increasingly, anti-government protesters and the police are failing to see eye to eye.

In 2010 the police were accused of dragging their feet as the Democrat government struggled to contain the red shirts’ revolt. This time the police have been accused of being tools of the Pheu Thai government. The demonstrators have besieged key police headquarters several times, and outbreaks of violence have seen police firing tear gas and protesters hurling stones.

The situation is increasingly worrisome. The rift between a large section of society and the police is threatening to widen.

A demonstration by police recently confirmed their frustration, but they cannot blame it all on the anti-government protesters. Bangkok Police Chief Kamronwit Thoopkrajang showed off Thaksin Shinawatra’s photo in his office. His admiration of Thaksin is well publicised, not least because he wants it to be.

The anti-government campaign has targeted the police as the main pillar of the “Thaksin system”. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has repeatedly said that, when he achieves victory, among the first items on the agenda would be a thorough reform of the police force. Suthep’s threat no doubt strikes fear into the police. All of a sudden, the force’s political stake in the crisis is firmly attached to who wins and who loses this showdown.

In fact, the stakes are getting higher and higher on both sides. The contrast with previous political crises is stark. This time, many more people have everything to gain from victory – and everything to lose from defeat. However, it is wrong for those who enforce the law to have any stake at all. Their duty demands that they remain completely neutral.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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