pm says legal action already taken against local supplier of fake bomb detectors - PM says legal action already taken against local supplier of fake bomb detectors

TO GO WITH AFP STORY “Thailand-south-unrest-rights-Britain,FOCUS’ by Aidan Jones
This picture taken on March 2, 2010 shows a Thai soldier using a GT200 detector as he patrols the streets of Yala, in Thailand’s restive south. Human rights activists say more than 400 people have been locked up — some for up to two years — on the basis of spurious evidence gleaned by the device, which is at the centre of a British fraud probe and that experts say is useless. AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO / AFP

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told the Opposition today that the Ministry of Defence has already taken legal action against the local suppliers of the bogus bomb detectors, known as GT-200, seeking compensation estimated at about 747 million baht.

He was responding to a question raised, during the third day of the censure debate, by Move Forward MP Jirat Thongsuwan asking who or which organisation should be held accountable for the army’s procurement of the GT-200s from a British company between 2006 and 2009, in contracts worth several hundred million baht.

The prime minister said that 13 lawsuits had been filed against the local suppliers by the Defence Ministry and 5 have been concluded by the court, with 6 still in court and 2 others pending with the public prosecutors.

So far, 17 million baht in compensation and interest has been received from the suppliers and the ministry’s legal affairs section is closely monitoring the cases.

Most of the bomb detectors procured by the army were for use in the four restive southernmost provinces with mixed results. In January 2010, the British government banned the export of the ADE651 bomb detecting device to Iraq and Afghanistan, after discovering that device is a fake, and warned foreign governments that the ADE651 and GT-200 are infective in detecting bombs or explosives. The owner of Global Technical, the British producer of the devices, was later convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison.

In 2018, a Thai businessman working for the local supplier, AVIA Satcom Company, was convicted on fraud charges and sentenced to nine years in prison for selling the fake devices to the army.

Tests conducted in Thailand and other countries proved the devices were ineffective. The head of the British GT-200 maker Global Technical, Gary Bolton, was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2013 and ordered to pay over US$1.6 million.