Thai deputy prime minister & defence minister under fire for watch

This article is more than 12 months old

BANGKOK: Thailand's deputy prime minister and defence minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has said that he would clarify to the country's anti-graft agency the reasons he was seen wearing an expensive, but undeclared watch.

Gen Prawit came under fire when a photograph of him shading his eyes from the sun went viral earlier this week, with social-media users drawing attention to his diamond ring and watch.

The timepiece looked similar to a model by Richard Mille, a brand popular among Hollywood and sports stars, which would have cost between four million and 10 million baht (S$165,000 and $413,000).

Such a pricey watch was not included in Gen Prawit's asset declaration back in 2014, when he started serving in the Cabinet, but it is possible that he obtained it since the declaration.

Speaking reluctantly on Wednesday, Gen Prawit refused to elaborate on his possession of the watch.

"It's no use explaining to the media. I will just go one-shot with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)," he said.

Political activist Srisuwan Janya planned to file a petition to the NACC to probe Gen Prawit's possession of the ring and watch yesterday.

Politicians in Thailand have fallen into trouble before after being seen wearing expensive timepieces.

In 2013, then-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was criticised for owning a 2.5 million baht watch that was not declared to the NACC.

During the investigation, Ms Yingluck said she had sold the watch before entering the political arena - and used the money to buy diamonds.

The investigation remains incomplete. - ASIA NEWS NETWORK