MIAMI – Former Thai Airways (TG) chairman Wallop Bhukkanasut was sentenced to two years in prison for failing to pay for checked baggage excess, newspaper Bangkok Post reported on November 26.

According to the report, Bhukkanasut received the conviction “for failing to pay for 300kg of excess baggage in 2009,” after being “found to have abused his authority in ordering airline staff to change the stated weight of his luggage so he could evade charges for the excess.”

He was accused of breaching Section 11 of the law that regulates the behavior of officials linked to Thai state organizations or agencies.


Chairman Abused Authority

As reported by Thai portal Thai Examiner, “the charges related to an incident on November 14, 2009 when Mr. Wallop and his wife flew back from Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan with first-class tickets aboard flight TG 677 to Bangkok,” where the couple was allowed “up to 120 kg of free luggage with their top-tier tickets.”

However, per the portal, the couple “were carrying at least 380 kg of luggage and therefore a charge was suggested for 260 kg which would have amounted to hundreds of thousands of baht.” On its part, the court has found on November 25 that Bhukkanasut “had abused his authority as Chairman by instructing staff to file the weight of the couple’s luggage incorrectly to avoid the charge.”

That portal also stated that the former TG chairman ordered airline staff “to underreport the weight both he and his wife were carrying on the flight,” another cause for abuse. Even though the baggage excess waiver was the main charge, other charges also came in the same trial.

“He has also been found guilty of accepting gifts, including Kobe beef and expensive fruit, from a private firm,” travel portal One Mile At a Time reported. The total of gifts was over $3,000.

Thai Airways Boeing 787. Photo: Thai Airways