A recent business survey found Thailand to be the second most corrupt
country (after the Philippines) in the region. This explains why notorious Russian
gunrunner Viktor Bout was arrested in Thailand two weeks ago. Bout had come to
Thailand, to arrange arms shipments to FARC rebels in Colombia, safe in the knowledge
that Thai police looked the other way at people like him, as long as he spent
lots of money and stayed out of trouble while in Thailand. But U.S. agents had
pretended to be from FARC, and had set up a sting. The Thai officials were
taken care of (with cash or favors, it's unclear, but arrangements were made to
prevent Bout from promptly bribing his way out of jail). Now Bout has brought
in more cash and lawyers, and is resisting U.S. attempts to extradite the arms
merchant to the U.S.
2008: In the south, someone threw a grenade into a mosque, wounding two
caretakers. The Islamic terrorists are increasingly attacking Moslem clerics
and government officials. Three years of Islamic terrorism have done nothing
for the Moslem population down south, and the terrorists are losing whatever
popularity they had.
2008: In the south, a bomb went off in the parking lot of a hotel, killing two
and wounding 16. The hotel was popular with visiting journalists and government
officials. The Islamic terrorists are the chief suspects, as they have been
complaining of poor treatment in the media. The attack on the hotel was one of
the few acts of violence against foreign tourists. Until now, foreign
governments had not warned their citizens to stay away from the many tourist
attractions in the south. Now that has changed, and Moslems in the south who
lose their jobs because of the terrorism, will dislike their Islamic "protectors"
even more. There has been an increase in tips from Moslem Thais, resulting in
more arrests of terrorist suspects.
the police, army and government agencies still do not cooperate as much as they
could to deal with terrorism in the south. The terrorists take advantage of
this disorganization, and many southern leaders are calling for more leadership
from the national government.
2008: Myanmar border crossings have been closed after Myanmar tribal
separatists fired on a Thai ferry carrying Myanmar troops across a river. This
has meant UN food supplies are not getting to tribal refugee camps on the
Myanmar side of the border. Thailand does not want to get involved with the
decades old war between the Myanmar government and tribal separatists.