Innocent As Charged

Last January Thai authrotities arrest five police officers for the murder of a Saudi businessman seeking to retrieve some of the loot from the infamous Blue Diamond Heist of 1989. The actual thief fled to Lampuang Province where he sold the jewelry for as little as $30. A Bangkok jeweler supposedly purchased many pieces before the police brought the thief, who had been a gardener at a Saudi palace, to justice. Kriangkrai Techamong was sentenced to five years in prison (serving 3).

The police returned jewelry to the Saudi representatives and when they complained about the switch for fake gems the diplomats and a businessman were murdered execution-style in 1990 souring relationships between Thailand and Saudi Arabia until the present.

The most famous piece, a rare blue diamond, has never surfaced after this crime, but the Bangkok jeweler’s wife and child were murdered in 1994 after police had tortured him to find the whereabouts of the treasure.
Over twenty police were dismissed from service in connection to this double-murder and General Chalor Kerdthes was sentenced to prison after a 13 year-long trial.

His stay at Klong Prem prison was comfortable according to a report by

Convicted British drugs trafficker David McMillan, who boasted being the only prisoner to have escaped from Klong Prem Prison, where he was eventually sent after Bangkwang, told me in an interview, the first since his escape:

“General Chalor had an even more comfortable time than I did. He was like royalty. He had taken over the prison’s ICU (Intensive Care Unit) – which is course really meant for sick prisoners – as his own suite.

“Whenever I saw him, he was drunk. He had his own supply of Johnny Walker Black Label, the drink of choice to many rich Thais. He must have done at least two bottles a day. He even turned up drunk to court but dressed smartly and arriving in a police limo. I asked Chalor if he could help me with my case,” said McMillan. “And he replied saying ‘Sorry but you’re f**ked’….He was nothing, if not honest!”


No one was honest in this affair and the five police officers involved with the case were acquited of any guilt by a Bangkok court for lack of evidence in the possible murder of Saudi businessman Mohammad al-Ruwaili in February, 1990. A key witness opted not to show up at the trial for fear of reprisal and the first judge was changed for the acquitting judge several months ago.

The Bangkok Post reported that Matrouk al-Ruwaili, the abducted man’s brother-in-law said he was certainly disappointed. “After all these 24 years, Thailand still shows a lack of fair judgement. In fact changing the presiding judge in the middle of the case is a negative thing for either side.”

Thailand and Saudi Arabia are not the best of friends, but Thailand is a long way from Saudi Arabia.

And the Thais are well-versed in telling foreigners ‘yet mung’, which was what this verdict says to the Arabs.

Airy Fic they might understand better.

It’s all in the accent.

For a good timeline on the Saudi Blue Diamond Heist, please go to this URL

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