Phao Siriyanon's legacy - The Nation, January 20, 2003
Wild article, written under the pseudonym Chang
Noi (little elephant--his website is
about 1950's era police chief Phao Siriyanon:
To encourage the police to rid Thailand of
drugs within three months, the prime minister
quoted the 1950s police chief, Phao Siriyanon:
"There is nothing under the sun that the
Thai police cannot do." The achievements
for which Phao and his police force have gone
down in history are assassinating MPs and smuggling
drugs....In 1955 the police made a record capture
of 20 tonnes of opium, and Phao himself collected
a massive reward on behalf of an informer. When
asked to display the haul, Phao said it had
been thrown in the sea. The public disbelief
almost undid him.... In 1957 Phao lost power
and fled to Switzerland. A couple of his "knights"
went with him. A newspaperman went to visit.
Phao was living in high style, with even an
English chauffeur. In an interview he confessed
to most of the political killings. He explained
that he had "wanted to be a big man"
and that he had been acting on orders of his
boss (Phibun). The newspaperman subtitled his
book of these confessions "the iron man
of Asia". A New York Times writer preferred
"a superlative crook". A senior Thai
diplomat of the time called him "the worst
man in the whole history of modern Thailand".
[The "superlative crook" quote was by New York Times writer, C.L. Sulzberger.]