Vote buying is a long-established tradition in Thailand. You give 500 Baht a head for each constituent to the village headman, who will pass on 200 Baht to each voter to secure their vote, and keep the rest of the money for himself. Et voilà, you’re elected. However, it’s an expensive business – at least 5-10 million Baht [£100-200,000 minimum]. Fortunately, according to Police Colonel Chatchai Rianmek, would-be people’s representatives have found a cheaper way of securing their post: they have their opponents murdered. According to the Police Colonel “killing politicians during the lead-up to an election is a common tactic to eliminate opponents”. He goes on “It’s an inexpensive investment. Gunmen are usually hired for between 100,000 and 300,000 Baht [£2-6,000], depending on how difficult the job is.”
Earlier this month Anon Jaroensuk, a sitting MP. was seriously hurt recently when a bomb planted in the car he was in exploded, and, in a separate incident, Kowit Charoennontasit, mayor of Bang Bua Thong, was shot and killed in front of his home. It seems that election season is upon us once again. At least, this time the candidates will be spending less to win.