Leading junta figure General Prawit Wongsuwan has landed himself in hot water again after his flashy timepiece reportedly costing millions of baht got the attention it deserved.
A photograph of Prawit shading his eyes from the sun went viral on Monday after the new Cabinet had its first meeting and a group photo of the ministerial team was taken.
Of all the Cabinet members, Prawit – a deputy PM and defence minister – attracted the greatest attention in the picture, which showed his hand and wrist accessorised with a big diamond ring and the fancy watch.
The expensive-looking timepiece was later found to be a Richard Mille that would have cost between Bt4 million (S$165,360) and Bt10 million (S$413,400).
Photos have been posted online showing Prawit’s wristwatch is the same brand as worn by elite tennis player Rafael Nadal, whose annual income is reported by international business magazines as being between US$35 million and US$42.5 million (S$47 million and S$57.2 million). Richard Mille watches are also popular among other high-profile celebrities such as singers Ed Sheeran, Jay Z and Kanye West, actor Joe Manganiello and footballer Neymar da Silva.
Netizens questioned how a military officer could have afforded such a luxurious item and wondered whether he had reported his ownership of it to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
Although Prawit did not declare his Richard Mille or the diamond ring in the assets and liability list submitted to the NACC when he became deputy prime minister in 2014, some critics said that to be fair, it was possible he had only acquired them since the declaration.
However, Ruangkrai Leekijwattana, a member of the Pheu Thai Party legal team, on Tuesday urged the NACC to investigate whether Prawit was concealing his assets.
Having observed the general since he served as Army chief under Abhisit Vejjajiva’s administration until his role as a key figure in the junta government, Ruangkrai said that Prawit could have a number of assets, including Buddha amulets, jewellery and watches valued at more than Bt200,000, which he had been concealing from the NACC.