“No alcohol in Santika” : the drama of Thailand… an absolute corruption

Remember the figure : 66.

66 people were killed in the Santika Pub blaze, one month ago.


Now, read this article, in silence. And then, if you still had any doubt, you’ll understand. You’ll understand why the country faces so many problems.

Absolute corruption.

The Santika pub never paid excise tax because inspectors ruled there was no alcohol or dancing on the premises, an anti-corruption agency says.

The Excise Department told the Commission for the Prevention and Suppression of Corruption in the State Sector its officers had just carried out one inspection during the five years the pub was in operation.

The commission has been examining the Excise Department for failing to collect 20 million baht in excise taxes from the pub in the five years before it burned down just after midnight on New Year’s Day, leaving 66 people dead and hundreds injured.

Commission secretary-general Tharit Pengdit said the Justice Ministry’s investigators found the pub operator, White and Brothers 2003 Co, had never paid the 10% excise tax on its gross revenue.

The Santika pub was required to pay excise tax as it opened as an entertainment venue with a dance floor and served alcoholic drinks, the commission said.

Mr Tharit said his agency had asked the Excise Department why it failed to collect taxes from White and Brothers.

The Excise Department claimed it did not collect the tax because the company had informed the department Santika was a restaurant without any dancing activities and did not serve alcohol.

The Excise Department said its inspectors went to the pub one evening and found no one drinking or dancing, Mr Tharit said.

He said only one inspection was carried out in five years and the alleged oversight had caused the state considerable tax revenue losses. (Bangkok Post)

The shareholders were already involded, the police was already involved (read here, police officers bought shares of the pub and then… controls stopped). Then the Excise Department… Then who ?

5 Responses to ““No alcohol in Santika” : the drama of Thailand… an absolute corruption”

  1. 1 thaichris 7 February 2009 at 4:04 am

    Ho can you expect the small one’s to pay tax if the big one’s don’t ? I remember that some body sold a telco company for US$ 2 billion and didn’t pay a single dollar in tax !!!! The fish was rotten from the top. Fortunately the head has been cut of.

    You want a change ? Take your mobile phone out and take a picture whenever you see a policeman taking bribe. Push the recording button whenever an official request tea money. And send the phote or the tape to ‘The Manager’ or the PAD or Sanitsuda Ekachai or any of the ones which fight corruption. Or put it on the WEB. Each os us has to fight corruption.

    AND NEVER EVER BRIBE !!!! I know, it makes many things easier to pay 100 or 200 or 200’000 or …. Thai Bath but all of us will pay the bill one day with our money or our health or our life.

  2. 2 Ty 7 February 2009 at 5:14 am

    Excise Department inspectors went to the pub at 7 p.m. one evening, at which time there was no drinking or dancing, and were satisfied that the place was really just a regular restaurant. Wow.

  3. 3 ThaiCrisis 7 February 2009 at 5:20 am

    I would like to share your optimism… honestly… But the issue goes way beyond a few individuals, who could be ashamed and exposed to the public… The Santika story doesn’t show some underworld…. it shows a system, like you said from the very bottom to the very top… It is ingrained within the mindset of the society.

    And it’s not limited to civil servants… I’m confronted to this mindset, every week, in the company I work for. Again, from the very top to the very bottom. Here the bribe (something to get something) sometimes changes into just a “fee”.

    Eventually, the result is the same : theft.

    But it’s not only a matter of morality… We have several technicalities if I may say, that add like layers. Think about the salary of civil servants… and policemen for instance. We can’t solve the corruption of the police without taking action on their wages.

    Therefore, beyond the individual responsibility, the state, the government has a huge responsibility. Again : the system.

    Corruption is a management tool for them… because it exempts them to review their policies, to question themselves, to enhance the system, to change the so called “balance”.

    For that matter, the state is not only a victim of corruption. But an active player too.

    schizophrenic” is the right word I believe… 😉

  4. 4 Bedwyr 7 February 2009 at 5:55 am

    I remember opining in a blog a while ago that imho, fully 80% of all of Thailand’s problems are directly caused by the ‘Royal’ Thai police force, either by indirectly failing to apply the law, or by directly engaging in criminal activities themselves. It is surely entertaining that the ‘Royal’ Thai police force, over which the person from which the term ‘Royal’ derives (and whom according to self-invented legend, has all power in the palm of his hand – power over people, power over the weather, power over the land etc etc etc), appears to have no power whatever. None. Zip. Nada.

    Corruption is endemic in Thailand and has been for at least the past 60 years under a certain benevolent gaze, and the bureaucracy, the armed forces, the police, and the loathesome gentry of Thailand, together with their favourite totem, have all done very nicely thank you under that arrangement.

    Corruption in Thailand will not end in less than 2 generations if a serious start is made now. Today.

    Since nobody doubts that a serious start will not, in fact, be made today, then we can confidently predict that it will continue, and that nobody will ever question how it is that low-paid army and police generals, judges, senators, politicians and bureaucrats could possibly have come by so much wealth.

    Whatever Abhisit says in his own uniquely mealy-mouthed way about ‘ending corruption’ can safely be taken as complete bollocks. He is just lying, as any cursory glance at the corruption in his own 1-month-old government will clearly show.


  5. 5 fall 7 February 2009 at 8:24 am

    This game is fun, let’s dig and see how deep the rabbit hole. Dont think nobody would start digging…

    And send the phote or the tape to ‘The Manager’ or the PAD or Sanitsuda Ekachai or any of the ones which fight corruption.
    Didn’t ASTV/PAD also have their own problem with RD over not paying tax from all those donation?

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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