Regardless of where in the world you live, there are always going to be the “haves” and the “have nots.” Some people who “have it” don’t use “it” to their advantage, regardless if it’s money, power, etc. Others, well, maybe not so much. And sometimes taking advantage of “it” can get you into a lot of hot water.
Wallop Bhukkanasut was the Chairman of Thai Airways from April 2009 to January 2010. Before that, he held a variety of senior roles in the same company, including VP of Sales & Distribution, of Marketing Planning, of their Commercial Division, and Executive Vice President.
In November of 2009, Wallop and his wife were flying on Thai Airways from Narita Airport back to Thailand. They had first-class tickets and were allowed up to 120 kg (roughly 265 pounds) of free luggage. However the couple was carrying more than 380 kg (838+ pounds) of luggage (I guess they don’t believe in traveling light?) and should have paid for the extra weight.
In a classic “Don’t you know who I am?” move, Wallop tried to use his “boss” position to his advantage and ordered the airline staff to under-report the weight of the luggage he and his wife were carrying.
Word quickly got out and the incident exploded into a national controversy about a month later. Staff and unions at Thai Airways angrily called for Wallop to resign from the airline. At one point, the union even ordered the staff to wear black to protest and signify their outrage at his actions.
Wallop reportedly eventually paid the overage but also resigned from his position in early 2010.
Fast forward to modern times. Thai Airways, a longtime state airline with a long history of corruption, filed for bankruptcy in May, 2020. During the proceedings, the National Anti Corruption Commission also took the opportunity to file charges against Wallop, the former high flying executive.
A criminal court has now jailed the airline’s former chairman for abusing his authority on that flight from Tokyo to Bangkok flight 11 years earlier. He’s been sentenced to two years in prison for breaching Section 11 of the Act that regulates the behavior of officials attached to state organizations or agencies.
Oh, and he also took bribes while he held his chairman position. Because of course he did.
“Don’t you know who I am?” Yeah, people did. And not for good reasons.
Feature Photo: pxhere
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary