11 July 2024

The spokesman for the Thai Ministry of Defence, General Kongcheep Tantravanich, has dismissed as fake news a report that one of the three Thai nationals arrested in New York, on charges of arms and narcotics trafficking, is the son of the president of the Privy Council, General Surayud Chulanont.

He said that one of the Thai suspects has been identified by New York police as Suksan Jullanan, who also claimed to be a Thai army general, while General Surayud’s son’s name is Sant Chulanont.

He said that the people who disseminated the fake news, due to the close similarity of the two names, intended to link the arms and trafficking gang with General Surayud’s son, to tarnish the reputation of General Surayud.

General Surayud was once prime minister of an interim government, after a military coup that toppled the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006.

General Kongcheep also said that the Defence Ministry had checked the records of the men in the three armed forces and the police and did not find any officer by the name of Suksan Jullanan.

According to the US Justice Department, the three Thais and a Japanese yakuza gang member used the revenue from drug trafficking to buy automatic weapons, rockets, guns and surface-to-air missiles for rebel groups in Myanmar.

The Defence Ministry spokesman also dismissed as fake news a report that the US has imposed a ban on the import of certain goods from Thailand in response to this drug and arms trafficking case.