Boonsong, 6 others transferred to Khlong Prem Prison

Former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, his former deputy Poom Sarapol and five other people who were found guilty and handed down jail sentences for involvement in corruption in the government-to-to-government rice dealings have been transferred from the Bangkok Remand Prison to Khlong Prem Prison, Corrections Department director-general Kobkiat Kasiwiwat said.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Friday (Aug 25) sentenced Mr Boonsong, Mr Poom and 15 other defendants to various jail terms.

In this case, a total of 28 people were charged with violating the law on price collusion, the Criminal Code and the anti-corruption law.

The court on Friday sentenced Mr Boonsong, Mr Poom and 15 others to various jail sentences and acquitted eight defendants.  Two of the defendants fled during the trial and failed to attend the ruling.

After the court delivered the ruling, the 17 who were slapped with jail sentences were brought to the Bangkok Remand Prison for detention, pending their appeals.

Mr Kobkiat said that Mr Boonsong, Mr Poom and five others were on Saturday morning transferred to the Khlong Prem Prison because their jail sentences are higher than 15 years.  The Bangkok Remand Prison is empowered to detain those with lower than 15 years imprisonment.

Krit Krasaethip, chief of the Bangkok Remand Prison, said during the first night in detention Mr Boonsong and Mr Poom slept well although they appeared to be under stress.

As most of the elderly, Mr Boonsong and Mr Poom suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure and the prison can take care of them, he said.

On Saturday morning, lawyers and relatives of the two former ministers turned up at the Bangkok Remand Prison to give them personal belongings and medicine.  But they could not do so because, according to the Corrections Department’s regulations, visitors are not allowed on holidays.

Narin Somnuek, the lawyer for Mr Boonsong, said he will visit his client on Aug 28 to consult about a further legal battle.