Prawit Wongsuwon

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Prawit Wongsuwon
ประวิตร วงษ์สุวรรณ
Prawit at the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting, Singapore in 2018
Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
In office
30 August 2014 – 1 September 2023
Prime MinisterPrayut Chan-o-cha
Acting Prime Minister of Thailand
In office
24 August 2022 – 30 September 2022
Prime MinisterPrayut Chan-o-cha[a][b]
Minister of Defence
In office
30 August 2014 – 10 July 2019
Prime MinisterPrayut Chan-o-cha
Preceded byYingluck Shinawatra
Succeeded byPrayut Chan-o-cha
In office
20 December 2008 – 9 August 2011
Prime MinisterAbhisit Vejjajiva
Preceded bySomchai Wongsawat
Succeeded byYuthasak Sasiprapha
Leader of the Palang Pracharath Party
Assumed office
27 June 2020
Preceded byUttama Savanayana
Member of the House of Representatives
Assumed office
14 May 2023
President of National Olympic Committee of Thailand
Assumed office
5 April 2017
Preceded byYuthasak Sasiprapha
Commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army
In office
1 October 2004 – 30 September 2005
Preceded byChaiyasit Shinawatra
Succeeded bySonthi Boonyaratglin
Personal details
Born (1945-08-11) 11 August 1945 (age 78)
Bangkok, Thailand
Political partyPalang Pracharath (since 2020)
RelativesPatcharawat Wongsuwan (brother)
Alma mater
Military service
Branch/serviceRoyal Thai Army
Years of service1969–2005

Prawit Wongsuwon (also spelled Wongsuwan; Thai: ประวิตร วงษ์สุวรรณ, RTGSPrawit Wongsuwan, pronounced [prà.wít wōŋ.sù.wān]; born 11 August 1945) is a Thai politician who served as the First Deputy Prime Minister from 2014 to 2023, Minister of Defence from 2008 to 2011 during the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and from 2014 to 2019 in the first government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. He also previously served as the deputy chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), a military junta which ruled Thailand from 2014 to 2019. From 2004 to 2005 he was the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army (RTA).

In 2022, he briefly became Acting Prime Minister of Thailand after Prayut was briefly suspended from carrying out his duties as Prime Minister of Thailand by the Constitutional Court of Thailand after the court agreed to take up the case on whether Prayut had exceeded the constitutional term limit for the office of Prime Minister. The Constitutional Court of Thailand later ruled on 30 September 2022 that Prayut had not exceeded his term limit and may continue to serve as Prime Minister. Prayut was thereafter able to resume carrying out duties as Prime Minister as a result of the court ruling and Prawit ceased to become the Acting Prime Minister of Thailand on the same date of the court ruling.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

The 2010 ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus, Prawit Wongsuwan (center)

Prawit's father was Major General Prasert Wongsuwan. He has four younger brothers: the Senator Admiral Sithawat Wongsuwan; Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan (the former Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police); former jewelry and watch repair technician, deceased football manager Pongphan Wongsuwan; and Phanpong Wongsuwan.

Prawit attended Saint Gabriel's College and Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (class 6, graduated 1965).[citation needed] After graduating from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (class 17) in 1969, he became an officer in the 21st Infantry Regiment (Queen's Guard), 2nd Infantry Division. In 1978, he completed the Thai Command and General Staff course. After a failed coup in April 1981, he led in turn both the 2nd and 12th regiments of the 2nd Inf Div.[3] In 1992, he was appointed royal aide-de-camp. In 1996 he was promoted to commander of the 2nd Infantry Division. After graduating from the National Defence College of Thailand in 1997, he became deputy commander, and in 1998 commander of the 1st Army Region (responsible for Bangkok and central Thailand). In 2001, he was appointed assistant chief-of-staff responsible for the army's operative branch. He returned to command the 1st Army Region, before being promoted to deputy commander-in-chief of the army in 2003 and commander-in-chief in 2004.[4] After retiring from active military service, he became a judge at the supreme courts-martial. After the 2006 coup d'état, he was appointed a member of the National Legislative Assembly.[5][failed verification]

In December 2008 Prawit was appointed minister of defence in Abhisit Vejjajiva's cabinet, serving until August 2011.[6] During the 2010 Thai political protests to which the government reacted with declaring a state of emergency and finally a military crackdown, Prawit was the deputy director, after 5 October 2010 director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation.[7]

Prawit is known as the mentor (or "big brother") of a military clique called the "Burapha Payak (tigers of the east)", who typically start their careers in the 21st Infantry Regiment (nicknamed the "Queen's Tigers") based in Prachinburi in eastern Thailand. This group includes former Commander-in-Chief Anupong Paochinda, and his successor Prayut Chan-o-cha.[8] Kasit Piromya, a former Democrat Party MP who served as foreign minister from 2008 to 2011, said that throughout his career, Prawit has mentored Prayut, helping him climb up the ranks. "Prawit was like a big brother," Kasit said.[4] Prawit is often considered a backer of the anti-government protests during the 2013–14 Thai political crisis, cited as a potential leader in coup rumors (which he denied), or as a possible candidate for prime minister in the event that the anti-government movement should succeed.[9][10]

2014 coup d'état[edit]

Prawit Wongsuwon with Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. in 2018

According to Paul Sanderson, writing for New Mandala, Prawit is "widely considered the architect of the 2014 coup".[11]

After the 22 May 2014 coup d'état, the junta appointed Prawit chairman of its "advisory board".[12] On 31 August 2014 he was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of defence in Prayut's cabinet.[13][14] On 16 September he was also appointed deputy chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).[15] In his multiple roles, Prawit sits on "...more than 50 committees".[16]

Corruption scandal[edit]

In December 2017 the National Anti-corruption Commission (NACC) opened an investigation into Prawit's asset disclosures.[17] The NACC gave Prawit until 8 January 2018 to clarify why some Prawit assets, such as the 18 luxury watches that had been identified at the time,[18][19][20] were not listed on his mandatory asset declarations when he took office after the 2014 coup d'etat.[21][22][23] As more watch disclosures became public, the NACC extended Prawit's deadline to 19 January.[24] On 29 December, Worawit Sukboon, secretary general of the NACC said, "We will investigate this case. It won't take a long time because it's not complicated."[25] By law, political office-holders as well as high-ranking officials must report their assets before assuming their posts and after they leave the posts. They are not required to declare assets while in office.[26] He is said to have filed asset declarations on 22 December 2008 when he became defence minister under Abhisit Vejjajiva; on 10 August 2011 when stepping down from that role; on 9 August 2012, one year after stepping down from his previous role; and on 4 September 2014 when he became deputy prime minister and defence minister.[27] On 6 January the Bangkok Post estimated the value of Prawit's 16 then-known timepieces at "...up to 22M[illion baht]" (US$685,000).[18] Since 6 January an additional nine watches have been identified by the Facebook site, CSI_LA,[28] bringing Prawit's total to 25 timepieces, altogether worth almost 40 million baht.[29][30] Prawit claims they were all loaned to him by friends.[31] On 9 January 2018, NACC president, Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, announced he had taken personal charge of the Prawit watch investigation. He promised a "...'professional, transparent' [inquiry], although it will take some time." NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon asked the media not to ask about the matter again until "early next month" (February 2018).[32]

Prawit's undeclared watches
No. Brand Model Est. price (baht) Source
1 Richard Mille RM029 2,500,000 [19]
2 Richard Mille RM30 2,800,000 [19]
3 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ice Blue Dial Platinum 1,800,000 [19]
4 Patek Philippe 5960/1A 1,500,000 [19]
5 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Automatic Blue Dial 800,000 [19]
6 Rolex 116655BKSRS 700,000 [19]
7 Patek Philippe 3970 2,500,000 [19]
8 Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960P 1,900,000 [19]
9 Rolex Pro Hunter Deepsea Blue 800,000 [19]
10 Richard Mille RM010 2,400,000 [19]
11 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, in 18K yellow gold and stainless steel 554,000 [19]
12 Rolex Yacht Master Rose Gold 2-tone 460,000 [18]
13 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400 Stainless Steel 580,000 [18]
14 Rolex Datejust Oyster 41 413,000 [18]
15 Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167R-001 in 18K rose gold 1,150,000 [18]
16 Rolex Day-Date 36 1,200,000 [18]
17 Rolex GMT Master II 1,360,000 [citation needed]
18 Patek Philippe 5135R Calendario Annual Calendar 1,500,000 [20]
19 A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph, silver dial in 18k rose gold 1,500,000 [citation needed]
20 Patek Philippe Gold Perpetual Calendar 3,600,000 [citation needed]
21 Patek Philippe Classic Chronograph 2,600,000 [citation needed]
22 Rolex Daytona 116523 980,000 [citation needed]
23 Patek Philippe Complications 5396/1G-001 2,300,000 [33]
24 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Ivory dial 1,000,000 [34]
25 Patek Philippe Complications Annual Calendar 1,500,000 [29]
26 G-Shock BGA150KT-4B 3,900 [19]

The Association to Protect the Thai Constitution, a watchdog group, petitioned the NACC to investigate Prawit for possible false declaration of assets and concealing information that must be declared to the agency. The organisation also accused Prawit of being unusually wealthy under Section 66 of the National Anti-Corruption Act. "Gen Prawit served in the army for about 40 years and was a political office holder for two terms, without any businesses. He could not possibly acquire such a great deal of wealth, a spokesman said.[35] In 2008, Prawit declared assets of 57 million baht. In his 2014 declaration, his assets had risen to 87 million baht.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Prawit is single. He enjoys jogging and playing golf in his free time.[36][citation needed] He is not known to speak, read, or write any language other than Central Thai.[citation needed]


Foreign honours[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Govt spokesman: Prawit caretaker PM now Prayut suspended
  2. ^ What power does Prawit have as acting PM?
  3. ^ Pongsudhirak, Thitinan (5 October 2018). "Thailand's new military and new politics" (Opinion). Bangkok Post. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b Strangio, Sebastian (2015-05-21). "The Strongman of Siam". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  5. ^ ประวิตร วงษ์สุวรรณ,
  6. ^ a b "Prawit in the soup over fancy trinkets". Bangkok Post. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Thai Cabinet extends state of emergency in Bangkok, 3 adjacent provinces". MCOT. 5 October 2010.
  8. ^ John Cole; Steve Sciacchitano (13 October 2012), "Thai military resists political pressure", Asia Times, archived from the original on 21 February 2014, retrieved 10 February 2014{{citation}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ Wassana Nanuam (12 December 2013). "'Silent' military coup beats having a real one". Bangkok Post.
  10. ^ Jason Szep; Amy Sawitta Lefevre (13 December 2013), Powerful forces revealed behind Thai protest movement {{citation}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  11. ^ Sanderson, Paul (2016-08-18). "A new breed of terror in Thailand". New Mandala. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Prawit, Somkid, Pridiyathorn named advisers". Bangkok Post. 27 May 2014.
  13. ^ Saiyasombut, Saksith (2014-09-01). "7 observations about Thailand's new, junta-picked cabinet". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Prayuth 1 cabinet endorsed". Bangkok Post. 31 August 2014.
  15. ^ "Somkid, Meechai sit on NCPO". Bangkok Post. 16 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Prawit moved to 'ease work'". Bangkok Post. 17 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Credibility of NACC on line" (Editorial). Bangkok Post. 9 December 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "Prawit's hide-and-seek game drags on". Bangkok Post. 6 January 2018. p. 1. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Prawit seen with another pricey watch". Bangkok Post. 28 December 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  20. ^ a b Nanuam, Wassana (10 January 2018). "18th Prawit watch identified as B1.5m Patek Philippe". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  21. ^ Rojanaphruk, Pravit (19 December 2017). "Has the Watch Struck Four for Embattled Prawit?". Khaosod English. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  22. ^ Charuvastra, Teeranai (20 December 2017). "Prawit Watch Watch: And Then There Were Five". Khaosod English. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  23. ^ Thaitrakulpanich, Asaree (22 December 2017). "Watch Watch: Seven Bling Timepieces and Counting". Khaosod English. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  24. ^ Itthipongmaetee, Chayanit (6 January 2018). "CORRUPTION COMMISSION TO QUESTION 4 OVER PRAWIT WATCH SCANDAL LINK". Khaosod English. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  25. ^ Thaitrakulpanich, Asaree (2017-12-29). "Prawit Files His Watch Response—and NACC Keeps it Secret". Khaosod English. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Corruption chief feels 'no pressure' in watch scandal". The Nation. 10 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  27. ^ Sattaburuth, Aekarach (15 December 2017). "Activist slams new Prawit watch find". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  28. ^ "CSI_LA". CSI-LA. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Prawit watch claim stirs ridicule". Bangkok Post. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  30. ^ Bunyamanee, Soonruth (17 January 2018). "Fate's clock ticking faster for Prawit, PM" (Editorial). Bangkok Post. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  31. ^ "Prawit to resign if NACC watch probe finds him guilty". Bangkok Post. 16 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  32. ^ "NACC assures over Prawit watch probe". Bangkok Post. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  33. ^ "No time frame set for probe into Prawit's luxury watches". Thai PBS. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  34. ^ "Irate Prawit defends watches, refuses to resign". Bangkok Post. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  35. ^ "Clock ticking for blinged-out Prawit". Bangkok Post. 8 December 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  36. ^ "Military of Defence". Archived from the original on 2007-03-06.[not specific enough to verify]
  1. ^ Prayut Chan-o-cha suspended by constitutional court due to exceeded Thailand's term limits.
  2. ^ Prayut Chan-o-cha remains Prime Minister due to constitutional court judgment that his term limits will end in 2025.
Military offices
Preceded by Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
Preceded by Prime Minister of Thailand

Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Palang Pracharath Party
Sporting positions
Preceded by President of National Olympic Committee of Thailand