When a member of the cabinet this week announced that he had COVID-19, he categorically denied hanging out in Bangkok’s Thonglor nightlife scene. The next day, a former politician known for exposing dirt in the corrupt worlds he came from told the media that two cabinet ministers had recently visited a strip club there where dozens of cases have been linked to the latest outbreak.
Today, former MP Chuvit Kamolvisit said through a representative that he would not disclose whether one of those was Transportation Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who became the highest level official to contract the disease that is again on the march across the kingdom.
“Khun Chuvit for now isn’t publicly specifying which VIPs were at the nightclub,” said 60-year-old Chuvit’s secretary, Aum. Asked if Chuvit would disclose more in the future, he succinctly responded: “Let’s see what Khun Chuvit will do next.”
It wasn’t the first time Chuvit, a colorful figure who won attention as the reformed “massage parlor king,” has thrown bricks without naming names.
Saksayam’s office at Transport Ministry said Friday that Saksayam was in quarantine and unavailable, and referred questions about whether he had been to the club to those locations disclosed in his “timeline” to health officials. The club was not listed among them.
On Thursday, Chuvit accused officials of practicing a double standard that endangered public health and risked prolonging the pandemic by allowing places favored or owned by their friends and family to remain open despite the risks posed. He called the Krystal Club, where a strip act entertained an unmasked audience in a video he posted to social media, the “Government House Club” for all the officials and top brass he alleged hang out there. He said that two ministers had visited the club.
Chuvit did not say when the event took place in the video he posted, which showed topless women on stage in Avengers superhero body paint with an unmasked audience. It might have just been something to grab media attention with, as the club advertised such an event two years ago in May 2019, eight months before the virus arrived in Thailand.
After being called out, Krystal Club as of today has been scrubbed from social media.
On Wednesday, 58-year-old Saksayam, part of a powerful political dynasty in Thailand’s east aligned with the ruling government, disclosed that he had contracted COVID-19.
He specifically denied being at nightlife venues where the virus has been spreading, leading to hundreds of new cases in recent days. He said that he believed that he was infected by a member of his staff.
After testing positive for the coronavirus yesterday, another member of his party, MP Kittichai Ruangsawat of Chachoengsao, said he had been drinking in Thonglor mid-March but denied being with Saksayam.