Thailand and Saudi Arabia are friends again, after a 30-year rift over a blue diamond. Why?

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Thailand and Saudi Arabia are proper friends again. Like proper official friends again. After 30 years of katti, dono ne batti kar li. And this is a big Guinness record for all those who have heard about reconciliation and forgiveness. 

What started as a eye-raising theft case in 1989 ended up creating a 30-year rift between the two countries. The rift lasted till January 2022. This rift seems to have dissolved after an invitation sent by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince to Thailand’s Prime Minister, and was graciously accepted. The Thai PM visited Saudi Arabia recently, and their latest press conference seems to wave a happy reconciliation flag. 

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Thailand and Saudi Arabia are friends again, after a 30-year rift over a blue diamond. Why?
© Provided by DailyO the blue diamond affair. photo: getty images The Blue Diamond Affair. Photo: Getty Images

BUT WHAT WAS THE THAILAND-SAUDI ARABIA RIFT ALL ABOUT? 

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It all began in 1989 when a Thai janitor employed at the then Saudi King’s mansion robbed the king’s precious jewels and fled to Thailand. When Saudi Arabia complained about this notorious act, Thailand’s police put its forces to right the wronged Sheikh.

They caught the thief and promised to return the jewels to Saudi Arabia because the King simply asked for the jewels to be returned, to avoid any political consequences in terms of investigations and charges.

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But this is not why the rift happened.

Like it happens in Hindi potboilers, the returned jewels turned out to be fake.

Saudi Arabia downgraded its diplomatic relationship with Thailand and sent two of its own diplomats to investigate the matter. These diplomats were murdered. By whom? No one knows yet, even in 2022.

Another Saudi businessman who knew of this missing diamond, and who was in Thailand, also went missing later. This created a bitter history between the countries, which continued till January 2022. But ministers in both countries seem to have wanted a reconciliation after this 30-year rift. The meeting and the press release, which talks about both countries who have now agreed to exchange ambassadors, is bound to change the political future of both countries and boost the nations’ economic, security and political ties.

Thailand and Saudi Arabia are friends again, after a 30-year rift over a blue diamond. Why?
© Provided by DailyO the current leaders of saudi and thailand. photo: getty images The current leaders of Saudi and Thailand. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia

HERE’S WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED. BUT A DISCLAIMER BEFORE THAT:  

All characters and events depicted in this story are entirely true and not fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living and dead, are not purely coincidental because they are based on true events. 

SO, THE STORY: 

It all started in the year 1989, when a Thai migrant worker Kriangkrai Techamong, stole US $20 million worth of diamonds from the palace of the Saudi Prince Faisal bin Fahd. What a jerk!  

Thailand and Saudi Arabia are friends again, after a 30-year rift over a blue diamond. Why?
© Provided by DailyO the saudi prince. photo: wikipedia The Saudi Prince Faisal Bin Fahd. Photo: Wikipedia

Among his loot of stolen pieces of jewellery was a 50-carat blue diamond, which was precious to the King. Back in Thailand, Kriangkrai was arrested in 1990 after he confessed to the crime. He decided to give back all the stolen jewelry that was yet to be sold by him in the Thai market. 

Blue Diamond Affair: The mystery of the stolen Saudi jewels. The Saudi prince & his wife were away on holiday for three months, so the thief knew this was the time to strike. Kriangkrai Techamong was running a significant risk. Stealing could be punished @ https://t.co/2ZtEeREWEo pic.twitter.com/golNZGWSra

— Jewelers Suite (@JewelersSuite) September 30, 2019

IF THE JEWELLERY CAME BACK, WHY THE RIFT?

The Saudis assured that there would be no legal consequences if the blue diamond was returned. But after the thief returned the jewels and the Thai police arrested him, some jewels that were sent back to Saudi Arabia turned out to be fake! Also, the returned jewels did not have the precious blue diamond!

To sort this out, when the Saudis sent two diplomats to understand the investigation, they both were murdered by unknown offenders. What worsened the matter was when another Saudi businessman who had knowledge of this business, went missing.

The Thai police were led by Lieutenant General Chalor Kerdthes. He and his team suspected a person called Santi Srithanakhan to have done the dirty deed. But the news pointed fingers at the Thai police, who were accused of sending back the fake jewellery.  

In 1994, the Lietenant General ended up kidnapping Santi’s wife and son to get him to reveal the whereabouts of the jewellery. But he ended up killing both of them and ended up being sentenced to death. But he received a royal pardon after spending 19 years in jail.

Till date, no one knows about the actual whereabouts of the blue diamond. Thailand has expressed sincere regrets about the 1989 incidents, and has exerted utmost efforts to resolve the case. It has also assured the Saudi kingdom of appropriate security to the members of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Bangkok. 

Saudi Arabia and Thailand announced that they are re-establishing diplomatic relations after three decades of freezing over a jewelry theft case from a Saudi palace.A Thai man working at the palace stole $ 20 million worth of gemstones.,a very rare, 50 carat blue diamond! pic.twitter.com/qYOLqcxwgN

— Valia Traka (@TrakaValia) January 26, 2022

This is why the meeting between the two countries is a big deal, because restoration of full diplomatic ties shows how both have moved on and agreed to work with each other to enhance economic and trade relations. 

Here is the joint press statement from Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

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