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Vatana Asavahame: Exiled Thai Politician Sparks Return Rumors with Viral Video

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Vatana Asavahame, a veteran politician who hightailed it out of Thailand back in 2008 after a power abuse conviction, has yet to set foot back on home turf, according to a close family source. The buzz started when a clip went viral, seemingly showing Vatana, the seasoned Samut Prakan politician, entertaining a group of provincial politicians at a mysterious location that had social media abuzz.

Once a deputy interior minister, Vatana was slapped with a 10-year prison sentence by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Case Division for Persons Holding Political Position over the notorious Klong Dan wastewater treatment plant scandal. This project was greenlighted in 1995 by then Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai’s Democrat-led government.

The clip, which first surfaced on June 3 courtesy of Chana Nguanngamsri, a member of the Samut Prakan provincial administrative organisation (PAO), ignited speculation that Vatana might make a triumphant return to Thailand, owing to the 15-year statute of limitations on his case expiring.

However, our insider dismissed these rumours, stating that Vatana is still away, noting that the warm reception depicted in the clip happened at his luxurious residence in a neighboring country.

Another reliable source debunked the return rumours, revealing that Vatana actually faced convictions on two distinct counts. While the statute of limitations for one—pertaining to irregular land procurement for the project—has indeed expired, the second case, which involves shady price-fixing collusion, is still very much active.

In the viral video, Vatana can be seen throwing his weight behind Soontorn Pansangtong, a former deputy minister of agriculture and cooperatives, who is eyeing the Samut Prakan PAO chairmanship later this year. Vatana emphasized that the Asavahame family remains entrenched in the political scene, proudly naming Soontorn as one of the family’s political successors.

On a related note, it was mentioned that Nantida Kaewbuasai, the current head of the PAO and widow of the late politician Chonsawat Asavahame, Vatana’s son, will not be contesting for re-election when her term concludes in December.


  1. Alice Smith June 9, 2024

    This is a huge controversy! Do you guys think Vatana will actually come back to Thailand?

    • Bob T June 9, 2024

      I doubt it. The legal issues are still unresolved.

      • Alice Smith June 9, 2024

        True, but if there’s a loophole, he might try to use it.

      • Scholar98 June 9, 2024

        Legally, he would still face consequences from the second conviction. It’s not that simple.

        • wantedman June 9, 2024

          Politicians find ways to evade the law all the time.

  2. Dave June 9, 2024

    So, he’s hiding in a luxurious residence in a neighboring country? What a joke.

    • Julie P June 9, 2024

      Yeah, typical rich criminal behavior.

      • MichelaeD June 9, 2024

        If you were in his shoes, you would also seek a safe haven.

        • Dave June 9, 2024

          I’m not a criminal, so I wouldn’t be in his shoes!

  3. James Lee June 9, 2024

    The statute of limitations on government corruption should be longer, if at all. It lets these corrupt officials scape.

    • LegalEagle June 9, 2024

      There are too many legal intricacies involved. Blanket extensions could infringe on rights.

      • James Lee June 9, 2024

        Then the system needs a major overhaul. Accountability is key.

        • EthicsPhD June 9, 2024

          Reforming judicial and political systems is easier said than done. It requires cooperation from all sides.

  4. Sophie June 9, 2024

    I’m curious about the Asavahame family’s grip on the political scene. Seems like they are still a force to be reckoned with.

    • Tommy012 June 9, 2024

      Political dynasties are common in many countries. Corruption or not, influence runs deep.

  5. Raymond June 9, 2024

    Nantida Kaewbuasai stepping down is interesting. I wonder what the family’s next move will be.

    • Jen-22 June 9, 2024

      Probably grooming someone else from their circle to take over.

  6. Grower134 June 9, 2024

    Politics in Thailand is like a soap opera—full of twists, scandals, and drama!

  7. Amelia June 9, 2024

    What about Soontorn Pansangtong? Does he have any skeletons in his closet?

  8. ConcernedCitizen June 9, 2024

    The clip going viral just shows how much influence Vatana still has. The public reaction is telling.

  9. Nina June 9, 2024

    With all this going on, do you think the Asavahame family will face any serious pushback from the government?

    • Bill_13 June 9, 2024

      Depends on how politically convenient it is for the government of the day to pursue them.

  10. Kris June 9, 2024

    Is there any chance Vatana seeks asylum somewhere more distant?

    • Tina Y June 9, 2024

      He already has a safe haven nearby. No need to move unless things get worse.

  11. Eduardo June 9, 2024

    People keep forgetting about the victims of these corrupt schemes. Taxpayers foot the bill!

  12. LucyM June 9, 2024

    Why isn’t there more international pressure on countries harboring such figures? Makes you question global justice.

  13. Michael.D June 9, 2024

    What’s the betting that the warm reception was staged for the camera to drum up public support?

    • Janet June 9, 2024

      Wouldn’t be the first time a politician staged something. Smoke and mirrors.

  14. Ravi June 9, 2024

    Who else thinks this whole thing is a distraction from bigger governmental issues?

  15. Serena June 9, 2024

    The way this family wields power, is it any surprise? They’re playing the game masterfully, even from a distance.

  16. TomClark June 9, 2024

    I feel sorry for the honest politicians in Thailand. They must find it impossible to get a foothold.

  17. Fay115 June 9, 2024

    If Vatana does return, it will be interesting to see how public opinion shifts. Can people ever forgive such blatant corruption?

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