Thai Entrepreneur Convicted in Bogus Bomb Detector Scam

Soldiers in Pathani province display the GT200 in 2010.

BANGKOK — A court on Wednesday sentenced a businessman to nine years in prison for selling phony bomb detectors to a royal guard unit.

Sutthiwat Wattanaki was found guilty of selling eight so-called GT200 devices to the Royal Thai Aide-De-Camp Department in 2008. He was also fined 18,000 baht for the deal, which cost the state over 9 million baht.

The prosecutors said Sutthiwat’s company, called Ava Satcom Ltd., claimed the devices could detect explosive and narcotics materials from a distance. The royal bodyguards later realized they did not work as advertised and filed charges.

Made by a British firm whose owner was jailed for fraud in 2013, GT200s were sold at about 1 million baht each to clients in Thailand. Tests revealed the devices were ineffectual and based on USD$20 golf-ball finders bought in the United States.


Sutthiwat’s lawyer pledged to appeal. The defendant has posted a bond of 900,000 baht to secure bail.


It’s the third legal action judgment Sutthiwat and his firm. In August, a civil court ordered the company to compensate the royal guards for the fraudulent deal. Last week, a court also sentenced him to 10 years in prison for selling GT200 devices to the army at a price of 600 million baht.

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