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Bill to punish families of those involved in graft should be based on guilt

Sep 24. 2016
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Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-Ngam proposes a conflict of interest bill that will impose penalties on the children, parents, and siblings of government officials convicted of corruption.

I completely disagree with it.

Firstly, the extended punishment proposed is based on relationship – not guilt. Also, why draw the line at one generation above and one below the guilty party? Why not go back to the historical seven-generation punishment (three above and three below)? Why restrict relationship to one of blood? For example, Tan Thaugsuban, son of ex-PDRC head Suthep, has been found guilty of illegally acquiring preserved forest on Koh Samui. His close friends, secretary, driver, etc, probably had at least suspicion of his illegal holdings, and may have benefited from his higher income – why not punish them also, along with his parents and family?

Two, why restrict the crime to graft? Surely taking of life is far more serious than graft, so why not include manslaughter and murder? This would, for example, put the extended family of the Red Bull heir who allegedly killed a cop with his Ferrari and fled at risk, along with Praewa (the young lady who killed nine in a commuter van), and the generals and troops involved in the Krue Se massacre (32 bodies), plus those involved in Tak Bai (83 killed in late 2004), and Nong Chik (4 deceased).

Thirdly, such measures wouldn’t be seen as just, for they are not based on guilt. Without justice being seen to be done, the punishment would neither punish nor deter, for if Suthep Thaugsuban was going to be punished for his son’s transgressions, why shouldn’t Suthep pre-emptively grab a piece of land for himself – and vice versa?

Fourth, historically, how effective were the Thai/Chinese seven-generation executions? If effective, why weren't they extended as above?

I am ready to be held accountable for my own actions – and only my own.

Burin Kantabutra

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