Bullets & Ballots

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There are many honest and honorable men and women among the 500 lawmakers in Thailand's House of Representatives. But the chamber also has its share of shady characters that reformers would like to see purged. Here are some of the more notorious, though each denies any wrongdoing

Snoh Thienthong
Thai Rak Thai
Known as a god-father, Snoh is under investigation for allegedly abusing his power when he was head of the Land Department in grabbing a large plot from a Buddhist temple. He turned it into a golf course, which he later sold to Thaksin Shinawatra. In November it was the site of Tiger Woods' victory in the Johnnie Walker Classic

Wanchalerm and Arthan Yubamroong
New Aspiration Party
Thrown off the police force for allegedly forging documents exempting them from military service, Arthan (shown) and his brother Wanchalerm, sons of former Justice Minister Chalerm Yubamroong, are infamous around Bangkok for their bodyguards beating up patrons while clubbing in the capital's nightspots

Vatana and Poonphol Asavahame
Rassadorn Party
Deputy Interior Minister Vatana (shown) has been denied a visa by the United States because he is suspected of either being a drug trafficker or associating with them. His son Poonphol is still awaiting trial for allegedly running down a policeman who tried to give him a traffic ticket

Suthep Thaugsuban
Democrat Party
The Minister of Transport and Communications was implicated in a scheme in which wealthy cronies grab-bed land meant for the poor. The scandal caused the collapse of Chuan's first government in 1995. He set up a farmers cooperative whose managers placed stocks in Chuan's name, sparking an investigation of the Prime Minister. Chuan was cleared

Newin Chidchob
Chart Tha
The Deputy Finance Minister and leader of the barons of Buriram was allegedly part of a group of politicians, businessmen and bank executives whose credit scheme contributed to the $3 billion collapse of the Bangkok Bank of Commerce

Surakiart Sathiarathai
Thai Rak Thai
As Finance Minister in 1995-96, he fired the corruption-fighting head of the Securities and Exchange Commission and failed to take action against those members of his then political party Chart Thai who were allegedly involved in the loan scandal that precipated the collapse of the Bangkok Bank of Commerce