He’s Not Missing, He’s Pining for the Desert …

He has not been seen since 1990 but he is not missing* Mr Mohammad Al-Ruwaili was last seen in 1990, having come to Thailand in 1985 to run a business. He has not been seen anywhere else, in fact. Persuasive evidence to declare him a missing person, the 19 years during which no one has seen him? Not, apparently, according to the South Bangkok Criminal Court. Here is the report of the thinking of the relevant august judge (or judges, how many would be involved? Just one, surely): “The court denied the request on the grounds the prosecution had only one witness, Pol Lt-Col Benjapol Chanthawan, a DSI expert on special cases, who testified that Mohammad al-Ruwaili came to live in Thailand to run a business in 1985 and had disappeared on Feb 12, 1990. The witness said al-Ruwaili’s car was found in the Christian Hospital parking lot. Police tried to find him, but failed. The case was later transferred to the DSI, which failed to make any further progress. The petitioner also did not produce any important witnesses, such as the missing man’s wife or relatives, to confirm to the court that al-Ruwaili had disappeared. As a consequence, Pol Lt-Col Benjapol’s statement carried little weight, the court said. Also, there were no documents to confirm that al-Ruwaili had not left the country. The only document submitted to the court was a copy of the police complaint that the businessman was missing. To conclude, there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the belief that al-Ruwaili had disappeared without trace, he court said.” This reminds me of an old rhyme which goes something like this: “Last night when I was walking on the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there, he wasn’t there again today, I wish I wish he’d stay away.” In this vein, if the court would care to call me, I would be prepared to state that I have not seen Khun al-Ruwaili since, well, ever, in fact. On a wholly unrelated note, the report concludes: “The disappearance of al-Ruwaili and the murders of four Saudi diplomats in 1989 and 1990 worsened the relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia. It is believed he had knowledge about the embezzlement of the Saudi jewellery stolen by Kriangkrai Techamong, a Thai worker, from the palace of King Faisal in 1989.” Don’t mention the jewellery. Seriously, don’t talk about it or you might …. Well, you might be declared ‘definitely not missing, no way, deny it entirely, nothing to see here,’ in another twenty years. He’s just a very naughty boy – one for the teenagers there.

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JW has been one of the first contributors to this blog before he gave up on it all in April 2010, during a time when Thai society got more and more polarized about political matters because of red-shirt protesters.

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