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Chuwit Guilty

01 September 2007
William R. Morledge
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         In the dead of night on 26 January 2003, Chuwit Kamolwisit secretly orchestrated a military Mafia decimation of a large commercial area called Sukhumvit Square.   It instantly became international news - a further reminder that Thailand had a long way to go to convince the outside world that it could provide a stable society and sound economic base for foreign investment.   Follows is the most recent update - not only of the incident, but of the legal travesty that has followed.
         Chuwit, on being told last year that the courts did NOT find him accountable for the wanton destruction - he could barely contain the smile..
- Photo excerpt - Bangkok Post, 2006

         Bangkok Eyes must admit we were a little surprised to find that Chuwit Kamolwisit, now the Chat Thai Party deputy leader, and four others were found guilty by the South Bangkok Civil Court of destroying stalls and shops located within Sukhumvit Square four years ago.   The reason we were surprised, of course, is because last July this very same court acquitted Chuwit and the others of these charges; finding only his lawyer guilty.   See our story HERE <LINK>.
         All that remained of 135 shops, 60 of which were bars, after a night of rampage by Chuwit's Mafia.
- Courtesy Stickman

         This recent court-ordered payment - of 5.7 million baht - also included 7.5 per cent interest until such time the full amount is paid.   At the same time, however, the judges ruled out damage payments demanded by the plaintiffs from 30 other defendants on the grounds of insufficient evidence.   The 30 defendants included non commissioned military officers, private security guards, Lt Colonel Himali Phewphan and Major Thanyathep Thammathorn.   The plaintiffs have not yet decided whether they will appeal against the ruling on the 30 men.
- Photo Bangkok Eyes - 2003

         This most recent legal decision singled out Chuwit and three separate, but related business entities - all were found jointly and equally guilty of paying the earlier mentioned military officers to level 135 establishments, including beer bars, souvenir stalls, an A Go-Go bar, laundrys, restaurants and gift shops located on Sukhumvit Square on the night of January 26, 2003 in order to repossess the plot of land.   (Therefore, for the record, this is no longer just accusation or speculation or allegation - we have, at least, one drop of justice in this swamp of lawlessness.)
         Typical of the messages painted on, and attached to the concrete and steel "Gulag Wall" that Chuwit's Mafia forces erected in the night to hide their annihilation of Sukhumvit Square.
- Photo Bangkok Eyes - 2003

         This month's verdict went against the defendants, two of whom were publicly named for the first time; Chalee Kan-ngern and Thawatchai Rungrawee, who represented two companies that reportedly planned to build a massage parlour on the Sukhumvit Square land.   The other defendant was Sukhumvit Silver Star Co Ltd, owned in part, by Chuwit himself (although this was not revealed at the time of the decimating of Sukhumvit Square).
         Another look over the fence at Chuwit's sea of destruction.
- Photo Bangkok Eyes - 2003

         The 5.7 million baht will be paid to just eight of 25 original plaintiffs for property damage.   It is possible that other plaintiffs may soon file individual civil lawsuits against any or all defendants.   It should be noted that 5.7 million is a mere, intelligence-insulting drop in the bucket -an imperfect echo of justice at best- considering the widespread destruction that took place that night.   By way of keeping things in perspective, the Studio 54 A Go-Go, which had been open only a month before it was flattened by Chuwit's minions, cost this much to build and fit out.

         It appears that this is not the last of it, however, as there has been talk of appeals and of separate, individual law suits, so we will be keeping one ear to the ground.

 Historical Minutiae Dept.


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On my last visit to Bangkok I hit the bars in NEP (Nana Entertainment Plaza) and Soi Cowboy but I avoided Patpong due to so many mixed reviews.   I would like to have a look around Patpong 1 and 2 on my next visit.

I do not care about the show bars and I want to avoid the rip off bars.   Can you please give me a break down of the King and Queen establishments as well as the names of other quality A Go-Go Bars not to miss while on a 'Pong' bar hop.


      (As the above letter could qualify as a "FAQ" - Frequently Asked Question, we are pleased to provide a -slightly expanded- reply:)


Our favorites on Patpong 1 are the Safari (A Go-Go), the Madrid (quiet lounge, good food, pleasant hostesses), the Camelot Castle (A Go-Go), the King's Castles 1 and 2 ( A Go-Go's), (The King's bars have cleaned up their way of doing business.)

Our favorites on Patpong 2 are Vinai's Cosmos Club (lounge atmosphere - pleasant hostesses) and Electric Blue (A Go-Go) and Crown Royal (lounge, pleasant hostesses).

All the Queen's Castles (there are 2 or 3 of them, depending on which is closed down at any given time) are all show bars, but not rip-off bars.   The following is a list of either rip off bars - or bars that charge for more than just your drinks (and the drinks you may buy the hostesses) :    Casanova, the Pen & House (Pent House), the Super Pussy, and Side Line A Go-Go.   Add to this list any bar that a street tout offers to take you out of your way to go to (our advice is to never listen to a street tout - ever), and never go to any bar without a name.


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    Let the September 2007 Follies  begin...
    BANKOK EYES' Expat Night Scene.

      PATPONG  I  
                Who says there is no place for a half-shophouse lounge bar?   The Xtra Time Bar has dropped the "bar" from their name, and have nailed up some eye-catching new neon.   Looking better all the time.

                So-long, Queen's Castle III.   So much for last month's sign saying they were renovating.   When you are closed for "renovations" a large part of every year, it is a little difficult to get out of the red.   No more razor-blade-coming-out-of-pussy shows, no more pussy-dart shows.....   We normally don't comment on what might become of a closed bar, but we would only say we hope it is not going to be another brik-a-brak shop - Patpong 1 is teetering on the brink of "critical mass" as it is.


                Supergirls has had a very cool gold and green chopper as their "mantle" above the entranceway for years - the problem is they have obscured it with the lighting that was meant to illuminate it.   At one time, the chopper was meant to represent yet another chopper that was lowered down from the ceiling onto the A Go-Go stage, where a couple would go through a litany of sexual acts.   But that was another time, another era.   But the rock still rocks, the roll still rolls.


      PATPONG  II  
                The Coyote Spicy Girls (Tik-Ko) has stuffed their last chit into the last cup.   Few enough people get up the steps to The Ramp as it is, and this unusually long and wet monsoon season hasn't helped.   May the nightgods be less harsh the next go-round.


                Last March, The After opened along side Sisters, only to be closed down in May, when, coincidentally, a sign from the authorities appeared on their door saying that drugs were bad.   In it's place the XXX opened, and everyone continued to march.   Last month (August), they reverted to their original name - almost.   They are now going by The After Hours.   Welcome them back to the neon nightcircus (or were they ever really gone?).


                We thought it was high-time to get a shot of The Naturals for the historical records.   Why?   Because we heard a rumor that they will not be renewing their lease when it comes up (very soon...).   They opened as Mr Natural in May of 1993, and changed to The Naturals in November 1996 (after having gone without a sign from March 1995).   Let's hope they can work something out...


                The Royal Salute have given themselves yet another 21-gun tribute - they are pulling out of the fray for good this time.   Our source has passed on to us that when you're not making any money, no one is having any fun.   He says it's the same for all the bars on The Ramp.   Nevertheless, Royal Salute have long ago earned their stripes, and are now a part of Patpong II's ongoing Night Entertainment history.


      SOI  COWBOY  
               The Apache had been, it seemed, the Apache forever.   Except of course when they were the Quiet Spot (but came back as John and Tong's Apache....)   But this August, some new neon has advised us (yet again) that the Apache is no more.   Welcome the Coyote as they cross over to the dark side of bright lights, big city.   (We notice they kept the Apache maidens on the roof, however....)

               Although the Cowboy Bar (more recently Cowboy One A Go-Go) wasn't the first bar on the Soi, they did lend their name to it.   They are now in a state of demolition - in the middle of what appears to be a complete revamp.   We'll keep our finger on the pulse and let y'all know what it will be just as soon as the dust settles....

               This is the second closing in less than a year (closed the first time last October) for Irish Pub (formerly D.L. Irish Pub) - and from the looks of the cold steel shutters and padlocks, it looks as though this time, they have stumbled headlong into the abyss.   Perhaps they'll have better luck a little further on down the road a piece.

    - File photos

     NANA  PLAZA  
                 From the "What Do They Mean By That?" Department.   Is there such a thing as 'too explicit'?   Nevertheless, at the Erotica Bar, they do let the good times roll.

                 The Hollywood Strip (3rd floor), is going on an all-out promotional - they have signs, such as below, posted in several strategic points around Nana Plaza this month.   Let 'er rip, then, gentlemen.

                 The Cat House finally sprung for some new neon.   Lookin' good - and same good service, same "all you can drink" specials on beer - can't be all bad....

      SOI  KATOEY  
                Absolut Raspberry continues to help the authorities absolutely by keeping out all the under-20's, who would otherwise enter Soi Katoey.   Only one niggly little problem.... no one's there to check passports.   Must be the 'Honor System' - you know, like they have at West Point....

                The Immortal Touch Massage & Spa has attained another super-power; it is now not only immortal, it is invisible.   Lasting only a little over a month, it has made itself scarcer than gypsies after midnite.
    - File photo

                The Fullhouse Massage is busily renovating - but what it will be when the flurry of hammers and saws ceases is anybody's guess.   We'll put a marker down on this one, and get back atcha, but for the time being rub it off your whiteboard.
    - File photo

    Door Art Of The Month

             The Plearn Karaoke, new to Washington Square this month, has swept away the opposition - the September Door Art Of The Month crown sits, figuratively, on their head.   Welcome them as they wade into these dark waters.

                While a couple of bars, notably Popeye 2 Bar and Meaw Meaw Bar, were doing a rocking good business last night, for the most part, the monsoon rains were keeping customers away in droves.   Didn't stop the traffic from clogging Soi 22, however.

      SOI  EDEN  
                Although the old Cigar Club sign is still there, when they expanded their 'patio' out into the Soi, they reverted to the name of the hotel: the outdoor lounge is now called just Star Inn.   Keep on keeping on.
    SOI  EDEN  SOI  7/1

                Welcome the Wombat Bar, yet another Tobacco Road (Soi Zero) refugee to migrate across Sukhumvit Road and roll out the red carpet.   They have moved into, and quite obviously spruced up, the old Angel Bar digs at the very back of the ground floor.   Wish them luck as they try, yet again, to tiptoe through the neon minefield.


                We couldn't believe our ears - one of the few bars that actually makes any money at Sukhumvit 1 Plaza - Suzie Bar - is going, at least figuratively, before the auctioner's gavel.   Suzie has something up her sleeve, and it involves some old buddies at the Erotica in Nana Plaza.   The mysteries abound.   If you are interested, visit Suzie at her bar and work out a deal - no middlemen, thanks.

                Another old acquaintance (from 13 Night Market days), the owner of the Sport Bar, will be subleasing, or perhaps selling half of her (very large) bar.   Comes with pool tables.   Interested parties check within.


             Alert reader and contributor ATM Charlie caught us with our linguistic pants down last month - he correctly pointed out that the below Night Entertainment Venue was the Mai Thai, and not the Thai Thai we said it was.   -And the most embarrassing part is we misread it on opening day and had been carrying it on the books incorrectly all these months.   'Haste makes waste' was never more true....
    - File photo

                The gay Bunny Massage has got some brand new signage - bigger, brighter.   We've never seen anyone going in or coming out, but they seem to maintain.

                The X Man is locked down, and darker than a poisoned well.   Blame the rainy season.


             In our coverage of Soi 26 last month, we labeled the below massage parlor as New Massage, suspecting all along that we were missing something - not being able to read Japanese.    Kind soul Yan B has written in to inform us that the sign reads, "New Matsutake Massage" (Matsutaki means 'Mushroom').

    (New Location)

                This just in from regular contributor, ATM Charlie. -An interesting historical note or two, with a rather inevitable conclusion.   We are indebted.
              Doc Bowden, host of the George & Dragon, Soi 23. has died.   The George & Dragon (later the Magpie, now The Ship Inn) was the most popular bar to rest between bouts in Soi Cowboy.

             His exploits included a seven year visa overstay.   He left the Kingdom owing the Indian Mafia and knew he could never return.   He was approx. 70 and his many friends thought he would never live that long."


    (No News !)




    "Free Ket !"

    amous  graffiti artist Alain Mariduena has been arrested in New York for placing graffiti on public facilities.    Maybe we are just old-fashioned, but Midnight Hour sees "famous graffiti artists" as oxymoronic on a conceptual level (after all, aren't taggers supposed to be paint-can Zorros who decorate our urban landscape in the dead of night under a cloak of total secrecy?   Whatever happened to that ethos...?).

    Ket's bust, instead of becoming the show-trial that New York City had intended, has become a rallying cry.   Support for Ket has come from fellow taggers and artists, as well as established businessmen such as Mark Ecko, and reasoned lawyers.   The above poster says it all.

    Nevertheless, as "street art" gains ever-increasing publicity through the Press, films, the Internet, specialty magazines and books - not to mention ever increasing (marginal) acceptance through such popular, but seemingly unlikely public venues as formal art exhibits and 'hip-hop / graffiti / skateboarding events' (where at least most of the taggings are on 'legal walls'), it is inevitable that the 'superstars' of graffiti will out.   

    Midnight Hour likens this undeniable explosion of public fascination with the world of "art crimes" to the public's ongoing rapture with the Mafia - we love to read about the Mafia, watch movies about them, serialize them on TV, adopt their jargon into the national lexicon of everyday speech, all the while maintaining our arm's-length distance, saying, "...this doesn't mean we like the Mafia."   Likewise, graffiti.   We can often see true artistic ability, brilliant originality and a high quotient of 'entertainment value', but we can't quite come out and say we support graffiti.

    Nevertheless, this increased media focus & public fascination with graffiti art doesn't mean the various local authorities are any more accepting of the graffiti artist than they are the mafioso.   Local government coffers are hit harder every year in an effort to keep up with the removal of graffiti and to attempt to subdue the ever-prolific graffiti artist.   (And you may not be surprised to find that whether or not they consider it "art", they unanimously condider it "illegal".)   

    Needless to say, the authorities are under increasingly greater pressure to show results for their ever-more-costly, and so-far notoriously ineffective crackdowns.   And New York City thinks it may have found a solution in the arrest of Alain (Ket) Mariduena - they are, it seems, planning a 'show trial'.    New York has had several high profile graffiti stories in the media recently (see our coverage of in previous issues < link one> < link two> ), but this latest arrest of a graffiti artist for 14 "felony" counts of spraying paint on public facilities seems to have caught the public's immediate attention for a variety of reasons.   

    The first question that arises has to do with the ephemeral and entirely inconclusive circumstantial evidence that New York City is citing as "proof" of wrong-doing.   If you haven't been following the case up to this point, you will be surprised to learn that the only evidence the city prosecutors have is that they have found photos of graffiti on Ket's confiscated computer, which was reportedly, but not proven to be done by him.   The fact that these graffiti bear his 'KET' tag doesn't bode well for him, nevertheless, as long as other lesser imitators continue to perpetuate his tag, the evidence remains not only circumstantial, but undeniably spurious.

    Graffiti artist Alain Mariduena - Felon?   Victim?   Media pawn?   It all depends on who you ask.   However, "If Guilty's The Question, Then Truth Is The Answer", as Waylon Jennings used to say.    N.Y.C. had better come up with some hard evidence before they send a citizen to prison....

    The second question raised, is how did the New York authorities parlay such obviously inconclusive evidence (his nom-de-plume tag appearing, unauthorized, in public places) into a search warrant in the first place?   While we at Midnight Hour are not in the least supportive of the egregious abuses of such organizations as the ACLU, this is an obvious-to-all case of the abuse of "search and siezure".   Let the Constitution of the United States speak on 'search and siezure' here; "No warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."   The New York City authorities have quite obviously obtained legal right under the most questionable and tenuous of circumstances to go on a 'fishing expedition' into Ket's home and computer.   

    At this point it should be noted that they also confiscated Ket's cameras and some 3,000 cans of spray paint - which they are touting as though they had found Iraq's missing stash of Weapons Of Mass Destruction.   Let the Midnight Hour remind you that if possession of spraypaint is proof of graffiti, then possession of matches is proof of arson.

    The third question in the minds of the public is - since when is spray-painting graffiti a felony?   Felonies by definition are "serious crimes which cause harm to other persons, ....such as, aggravated assault and/or battery, arson, burglary, some instances of drug possession, embezzlement, fraud, grand theft, treason, espionage, racketeering, robbery, murder, and rape".   Is it just Midnight Hour, or are you also finding it impossible to classify graffiti into that grouping?   

    Let the punishment fit the crime.   If they ever do come up with any real proof that KET actually did what he is accused of, he should be fined accordingly, and made to perform "community service" in removing said graffiti.   Imprisonment for graffiti is truly draconian - surely America will not have regressed to this degree simply because lawmakers and law enforcement have become frustrated with their own ineffectiveness?

    Editor's Note:

    In our researching this story, we find that New York is not the only city to have become abusive of the law in their multifarious quests to stamp out graffiti.   Other municipalities who have quietly put on their jackboots are:

    Washington, D.C. - the mayor has recently claimed the right to invade private property to remove graffiti - with, or without the owner's permission.

    Chicago - the mayor is attempting to push through legislation allowing the fining of parents for their offspring's graffiti.

    In Peoria (Ariz.) - Police have installed surveillance cameras atop high poles in order to "big brother" the high-graffiti areas.

    Many municipalities have limited minors' access to spray paint and wide-tipped markers.

    - And now to Bangkok's own brand of Graffiti....

    Graffiti #162
    Five-legged Fido
    7 ft high x 6 ft

    Graffiti #163
    Baby's Back
    5 ft. high x 4 ft.

    Graffiti #164
    Nemo In Wonderland
    6 ft. high x 8 ft.

    Graffiti #165
    3 ft high x 2 ft

    Graffiti #166
    Dedicated Followers of Fascism
    6 ft high x 10 ft.

    Graffiti #167
    Zeke's Alive
    8 ft high x 12 ft

    Graffiti #168
    Toys 'R' Tags 2
    6 ft high x 17 ft

    Graffiti, Graffiti , and more Graffiti - Bangkok's original and ONLY graffiti Site !

       The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.

    (Boge's photo, above, is not a graffiti per-se, although there are those who have insinuated....   - Ed)

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                   William R. Morledge


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