Son of Former Coup Leader Appointed New Army Chief

Gen. Apirat Kongsompong. Photo: Matichon
Gen. Apirat Kongsompong. Photo: Matichon

BANGKOK — The eldest son of a former coup leader and secretary of the current junta will take over as the new army chief.

The Royal Gazette announced the annual military reshuffle on Saturday and Gen. Apirat Kongsompong, who serves as assistant chief of the Royal Thai Army, will take on the all-powerful role Oct. 1.

The 58-year-old general was the eldest son of the late Gen. Sunthorn Kongsompong, who led a coup in 1991 to oust the government of Chatchai Choonhavan. He will replace outgoing army chief Chalermchai Sitthisad, who is retiring.

Apirat holds a number of important roles and has risen up through the channels of power.

A member of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly, he was educated at Saint Gabriel’s College, an exclusive Catholic school attended by deputy junta leader Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan and deputy premier Somkid Jatusripitak.

The incoming army chief later attended the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School and went on to attend at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, where he graduated in 1985, and then the National Defence College.

He has been in charge of overseeing the 1st Army Region which covers security in Bangkok and the central region.

Apirat will continue to serve as junta secretary. He is also chairman of the National Lottery and a board member of private petrochemical concern Bangchak.

His other notable achievements include leading forces to re-take a Thaicom satellite facility in northern metro Bangkok after then anti-government Redshirt protesters took over the facility in 2010 during the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration.