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From the August 1999 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 46, No. 08)

THAILAND

Catching Static

Kara Peterson, World Press Review assistant editor

The recent arrest of "a junketing colonel" at Sydney International Airport has caused major embarrassment for the Thai military establishment, writes Peter Alford in Sydney's centrist Australian. The colonel was arrested for shoplifting in the airport's duty-free shop.

"It was alleged ... that the colonel was a member of a party of Thai senior officers ... whose Australian holiday was funded by money creamed from army-controlled radio stations." writes Alford.

In Thailand, the army controls 128 radio frequencies, arguing that they serve "to protect national security." The problem is that the army then leases the frequencies and uses the money for its officers' travel and golfing trips, writes Alford. But the days of easy money may soon be over.

Mongkol Bangprapa says in the independent Bangkok Post that the government is considering a bill that would take control of the fund from the military and give it to an "independent regulator."

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