ABSTRACT

In the afternoon of 5 December 1995, a small team of senior staff from the Thai language daily Siam Post gathered in a meeting room to discuss a major new story. The newspaper had obtained a set of documents which would be highly embarrassing for the Banharn Silpa-archa government. The papers, which had been seized from Ban Phitsanulok1 at the time of the military coup of 23 February 1991, appeared to show that a member of the team of advisors then working for prime minister Chatichai Choonavan had been guilty of improprieties. Using a front company known as Match Cross International, one of the advisors had allegedly offered his services as a political lobbyist and ‘fixer’, arranging introductions and setting up deals in return for commissions. Many of the documents (which totalled more than a hundred pages) had apparently been sent by or from Weerasak Kowsurat. Several referred to Weerasak’s ‘boss’ figure, one ‘Dr S’. When Banharn Silpa-archa had formed his government in July 1995, he had named Weerasak as his deputy secretarygeneral, and a ‘Dr S’, Dr Surakiart Sathirathai, as his finance minister.