Corrupt Thai officials may face death

BANGKOK • Thai officials convicted in corruption cases involving more than 1 billion baht (S$40.2 million) could face the death penalty under a proposal approved by the military-appointed National Reform Steering Committee.

Analysts say such a stern punishment for all forms of graft was another way for the ruling junta to control its opponents, including allies of Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted as premier in a 2006 coup.

Of the 162 steering committee members present on Monday, 155 voted in favour of the measure.

"The meeting agrees with this measure," a member of the committee said in a televised session. The measure must be submitted to the Cabinet, Parliament and Thailand's Constitution committee for deliberation before it is adopted.

The junta that took power in a 2014 coup has sought to burnish its graft-busting reputation by cracking down on shady patronage networks. But it has been reluctant to touch the powerful institutions of the monarchy, military and religion.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'Corrupt Thai officials may face death'. Print Edition | Subscribe