Fake rice deal with China comes home to roost for Boonsong

ScreenShot001 Left, from Thairath, October 14, 2012: Really, the government’s rice trading deals are classified. We really cannot tell you!

Thailand files charges against former commerce minister – Reuters, March 17, 2015
…Boonsong Teriyapirom, a former commerce minister in the government of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and 20 others are accused of falsifying government-to-government rice deals between Thailand and China in 2013.
The Thai government said at the time it had sold 1.2 million tonnes of rice from its stockpiles to China to reduce stocks…

[This action against Boonsong is yet another warning to the ambitious not to take action for Thaksin–no matter the assurances that they will be protected. This is what is also behind some of the lese majeste prosecutions. They are meant to create a chilling effect for those without vast financial resources. They send the message that political activity or agitation on behalf of Thaksin’s political goals will be met with legal entanglements.
Those who posit that the junta’s heavy-handed legal moves belie fear or insanity are not understanding the anti-Thaksin establishment’s goals. The goal is to show resolve to the Thai political world that Thaksin is finished this time around and that he must be abandoned. Thus, from the military perspective, the more bold and outrageous the actions taken against Thaksin supporters the better.
While foreign observers advise reconciliation, the local impulse will be towards proud authoritarianism. The military is intent on displaying resolve this time around–and the more extreme the better for the political message they wish to send.
Below are some past mentions of Boonsong and his “top-secret” rice deal with China.]

Who really benefited from the rice scheme? – Bangkok Post, June 18, 2013
…Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, who chaired the NRPC meeting on Monday, said the adjustment of the rice pledging price was intended to maintain fiscal discipline so that the rice scheme would not place too great a burden on the state’s coffers.
One might wonder why the minister had not felt a similar need for fiscal discipline several months ago, but instead had persistently shrugged off all criticism of the scheme and refused to come clean on almost everything about it — be it the amount of rice sold and still in stockpiles, the price of rice sold, the buyers, and the estimated losses so far…

Above: Boonsong is a Shinawatra loyalist who was thought to owe his cabinet position directly to Thaksin’s sister Yaowapha.

From Manager, October 25, 2012
Sign on building: National Broadcasting and Telecommunications
Yelling from left: They must have colluded!, Are they colluding?, Certainly colluding…
Caption: While everybody pays attention to 3G… 2G is getting off the hook.
[The woman is Yaowapa Wongsawad, Thaksin’s sister, and a major force in the government. The man carrying rice bags is Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom. The 3G auction was criticized for allowing several major companies to collude on bidding.
In the cartoon, “2G” refers to the “government-to-government” rice trading deals Boonsong claimed he has made. He refused to provide any details of the deals claiming that it would compromise the deals. Many are suspicious as to whether the deals really exist.]

China dashes Thai hopes of cutting huge rice stockpile – gulfnews.com, October 11, 2013
…Chinese premier Li Keqiang said purchases over the next five years will be from private firms, making no mention of 1.2 million tonnes that had been flagged by the Thai government last month as sold in a government-to-government deal…

Thailand Has No Easy Options to Pay for Rice Subsidy – WSJ, October 7, 2013
…Since the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra launched the rice subsidy program in 2011 – a populist campaign to help local farmers by buying rice at as much as 50% above market price – the Cabinet has approved a total budget of $16 billion, taken from a state-run bank, to fund the program.
But the government has already spent about $21.4 billion in total since then, Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisal told reporters last month…

From Manager, June 17, 2013
Caption: 2 murderers… 1 mastermind
Left cuffed man: Boonsong, who ordered you to kill? [Boonsong refers to Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom.]
Right cuffed man: The same person who gave you the order, Ai Ball.
On jute sack: Rice mortgage
[“Ball” is nickname of the driver of Akeyuth Anchanbutr. He confessed that he and his three friends abducted and murdered Akeyuth for money. Many suspect that the case is more complicated as Akeyuth has long been one of Thaksin’s fiercest critics who became a clearinghouse for damaging information on Thaksin and his activities. With the Pheu Thai in power, it is believed to have been relatively easy to have Akeyuth liquidated and his anti-Thaksin websites shut down as the police have shown that they owe their allegiance to Thaksin and not the state.
In the cartoon Ball says that Commerce Minister Boonsong killed Thai rice because the very high priced rice made the crop lose its competitive advantage in the world market. This rabidly anti-Thaksin Manager cartoon implies that the “one mastermind” behind both “murders” is Thaksin.]

Here is another cartoon comparing the murder of Ekkayuth with Boonsong’s management of the rice payments

From Thairath, November 25, 2012
Cartoon title: Thailand, the land of smiles
Lower left: Smile at the G to G rice trading deal, the government’s top secret. [Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom claimed that the government made a deal with the Chinese government on a government to government basis to export rice to China. When asked for more details, Boonsong declined claiming that it is a government secret. The opposition doubts the truth of the deal since, to comply with international trade agreements, the price of the rice would have be commensurate with the inflated prices the government is paying to farmers for the rice.]
Full cartoon is here

Even a pro-Thaksin cartoonist seems to suspect the Boonsong and the rice pledging scheme would expose the government to trouble.

From Manager, October 11, 2012
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom: G to G in my sense is Giai to Giai [“Giai” is a Chinese word meaning sister].
The caption reads: Who said Boonsong lied about G to G?
[The woman on the left is Yaowapha Shinawatra and on the right is Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. This refers to Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom’s news conference saying that he is selling rice from the government’s mortgage policy to some countries under “G to G” contracts. He refused to give any further details claiming that the contracts are secret and revealing the details may compromise the deals. The suspicion is that there are really no deals and Boonsong is defending the Shinawatra family-dominated government that is under pressure over mounting rice stockpiles.]

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