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Saudi Envoy To Thailand Khoja Dies At 76


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Saudi envoy Khoja dies at 76

By The Nation

The torch was handed over to modern-day diplomats a long time ago, but to everyone familiar with Thailand's roller-coaster relations with Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Said Khoja, who passed away last week at the age of 76, will always be the man to remember.

His show-off to local and foreign media of a chrome-plated .38-calibre Smith & Wesson, which was always on his side during his time here in the early 1990s, became a trademark of the late charge d'affaires. So was his perpetual disdain of Thai police, who were, he once whispered to a western reporter, "bigger than the government itself".

Sent to Thailand as his country downgraded bilateral relations following the jewellery scandal, killings of embassy officials and the kidnap-murder of a high-profile Saudi envoy, Khoja upped the ante against Bangkok diplomatically. And he was not afraid to point his finger at the Thai police when a Thai mother and her young son were murdered in what looked like something related to the gems scandal.

When he was in Thailand, the embassy's office was known for its extremely tight security, dramatised by his tendency to show his gun to visiting reporters. His outspokenness when it came to the missing jewellery was a key part of his tenure.

One of the killed Saudi diplomats was his student. He often told reporters he volunteered to come to serve in Thailand during the diplomatically turbulent time partly because of that.

He once vowed to remain here until all perpetrators were behind bars but finally departed from Bangkok without accomplishing his mission. What was heard about him in recent years was that his health had deteriorated. The news of his passing away was conveyed to Thailand over the weekend by his son.

Thai-Saudi relations remain far from normal. But whatever happens next, Mohammed Said Khoja must have felt after his departure that he had done his best. Like him or not, a lot of Thai officials must have agreed.


-- The Nation 2011-01-19

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It's taken the likes of the invention of the internet and with it the emergence of Wickileaks to match Khoja's voracity for stating the truth.

The volume of his comment to a reporter is irrelevent. Did he stop to make it off the record? A brave man determined to expose what we all know; dishonest, virulent, rotten. contagious, corrupt Thailand. Brave enough to say to their face and from a position of power with the full backing of his Government. How low had relations been allowed to sink between these two countries. And all because that national trait - Thai dishonesty - had reared it's ugly head once again and again and again.

Britain has the Elgin marbles and won't return them. It was somebody else's actions that caused the embarrassment a long time ago. A long long time ago. But we won't be going thre ever again. It's called lesson learned. But has Thailand ever been to school?

But Thailand is the here and now and just won't do the right thing. Can't do the right thing. Doesn't understand the right thing. Choosing to wait the passage of time. But it's relations with SA are soured and damaged beyond repair. They still don't get that they'll never be given Thaksin without handing over the gems. SA holds sway over the Arab world in it's entirity with this matter.

There are some sobering lessons in this story. Khoja knew he was targetted in the cross hairs. The gun wasn't just for show. He knew that the Thai Police would infiltrate his Press Conferences and plant an assassin if they could.

What hope it there then for the rest of us who should happen to cross these stupid mindless thugs in uniform.

The Thai way.

I'll take the high way.

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