Outspoken academic blames “COVID mafia” for second wave of COVID-19

In his post on www.thaipost.net on Sunday, former Thammasat University lecturer Kaewsan Atipothi claimed that the first wave of COVID-19 last year was the result of globalization and Thailand’s “close contact with the international community”, but the second wave, currently spreading across the country, is the product of so-called “COVID mafia”.

The academic defined “COVID mafia” as corrupt officials who work hand in glove with local influential figures involved in illegal gambling, in eastern region of Thailand, and with human trafficking gangs, who smuggle migrant workers from Myanmar into Samut Sakhon province and illegal Thai workers from Myanmar back into Thailand.

He accused the community of illegal Myanmar workers in Samut Sakhon, the Myanmar casinos close to Thailand’s western border and the illegal gambling empire in the eastern region as the three hot beds of COVID-19.

He went on to claim that these are all under the control of a “mafia network”, as he explained why the virus spread so fast, quietly and extensively. “As we were concentrating on containing the disease at Suvarnabhumi international airport, the contagion has already entered our home,” he said.

This crisis would not have happened in the first place, if there had not been mafia-controlled illegal gambling dens or human trafficking gangs, said Kaewsan.

He explained that the “mafia” system is a collaboration betweenstate officials and local influential figures, and claimed that the influential figure in Rayong province has managed to buy the entire police force, be it the local police and the Bangkok police, including the Crime Suppression Division, by dealing with just one group of state officials.

“When you can buy total power, the business operator or the mafia boss will feel stable enough to invest heavily (in illegal gambling activities), to the point that Rayong has been labelled “Thailand’s Macau” and it has expanded to Chanthaburi and Chon Buri provinces,” said the former Thammasat University lecturer.

Kaewsan said he didn’t expect the police will ever be reformed under the present government, and there is no real opposition in the parliament either, but only the vengeful group of politicians and another group bent on toppling the Monarchy.

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