The Thais have a word for it: khorapchan – though quite why they needed to borrow an English word when corruption’s a deeply embedded tradition in the Kingdom, I don’t know. In a recent poll of more than 4,000 people, 95% said that corruption was Thailand’s biggest social ill. It’s said that 25% of all tax revenue “disappears” though graft, and that a staggering 90% of all flood relief aid (billions of Baht) has been syphoned off. In an audit of 373 randomly checked projects, 274 (73%) showed signs of corruption. Well, at least there was no corruption in 27% of projects – or if there was, it was well concealed. (A similar audit of about 2,000 roadbuilding projects a few years ago revealed corruption in every single one of them, so perhaps things are getting better.)
And the good news just keeps on coming. The National Anti-Corruption Commission has just announced that it will make Thailand corruption-free within the next few years. Oh look! Is that a pig flying past my window?