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GT200 bomb scanners fraud charges

Started by thaiga, July 14, 2012, 01:46:55 PM

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Scanner lawsuit is govt's decision: Prayuth

BANGKOK: -- Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday said it was up to the government to decide whether to sue the supplier of the GT200 bomb scanners, which have proven unreliable in many scientific tests.

"The Fourth Army Region no longer uses the devices," the military leader said.

In 2010, it became big news when the tests showed the GT200 bomb scanners - bought under a huge budget - could not pass the tests.

However, it emerged into the spotlight again after the BBC news reported that the GT200 bomb-scanner manufacturer was arrested and charged with selling deceptive devices.

The Nation
'Bomb detector' maker Jim McCormick faces fraud charges

A businessman who sold a bomb-detecting device to 20 countries, including Iraq, has been charged with fraud, Avon and Somerset Police said.

Jim McCormick, 55, has been on bail for two-and-a-half years while police examined the sale of the device.

A BBC Newsnight investigation in 2010 showed the ADE-651 did not work and led to the British government banning its export to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr McCormick will appear at City of London Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Avon and Somerset Police said that Mr McCormick would face six charges including producing and supplying the devices, knowing that they were designed or adapted for use in fraud.

The device had been sold to a range of Middle-Eastern countries and as far afield as Bangkok.

The Iraqi government spent $85m (£52m) on the hand-held detectors which were used at most checkpoints in Baghdad.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Military was warned two years ago that the devices were fake

More than two years after being told they were fake, Thailand's military is still using bogus bomb detectors that were fraudulently sold by a discredited British company, according to the country’s Department of Special Investigation.

Thai security forces so far have bought 1,576 of the fake devices at a cost of US$30 million, investigators said, which the army currently uses against Islamist guerrillas despite a U.S. Embassy alert that the devices are "like a toy."

Asia Sentinel and other publications reported on Feb, 17, 2010, that the devices were fake. Then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said at the time that the devices had worked only four times in 20 field tests, a frequency even below random chance. Critics said the use of the devices could subject the users to the possibility of being blown if the operator fails to detect a nearby explosive that is detonated.

The Department of Special Investigation --Thailand's equivalent to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation -- announced two weeks ago that the manufacturers and distributors of the useless devices fraudulently sold them to Thailand's security forces and other agencies. The DSI then sent the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which set up 13 panels on July 24 to investigate the purchases.

However, Thailand's top generals continue to endorse the devices.

"Do not say the GT200 used as a bomb detector in the far south does not work," Defense Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said in July, referring to southern Thailand where 40,000 troops are fighting Muslim separatists.

More than 5,000 people have died on all sides in the south since 2004 -- including by explosives.

"It has often detected explosives. If it can detect a bomb just once, it is worth it," Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol said.

In 2006, when he was air force chief of staff, the air force was Thailand's first agency to buy GT200s to detect drugs and bombs at airports, Thai media reported.

Soon afterwards, the army bought more than 750 GT200s, reportedly endorsed by Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is now Thailand's army chief.

"I have seen the effectiveness of GT200 detectors in finding explosives," the military's Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimapakorn said in July, echoing the armed forces' closed-rank approach toward public criticism about the devices.

"For the military to admit that they were duped into buying useless bomb detectors...may invite unwanted investigation into suspected corruption," wrote Bangkok Post's former editor Veera Prateepchaikul on July 23.

There is no public evidence of wrongdoing by any military officials linked to the procurement contracts.

The DSI said a British company, ComsTrac, produced and sold GT200s and Alpha 6s to Bangkok by creating two representative companies for distribution, and three subcontractors.

The black devices include a small rectangular plastic box topped with a plastic cylinder, which can be gripped by hand.

"Speaking as a professional, I would say that is an empty plastic case," British explosives expert Sidney Alford told the British Broadcasting Corp. in 2010 after opening a GT200.

An insertable "detection card" which supposedly makes the device sensitive to explosives or drugs, is a useless paper card, Alford said. A shiny, collapsible, radio-style metal antenna sticks out of the plastic cylinder and swivels, purportedly when detecting something.

During security checks, nervous troops are ordered to slowly wave the deviceâ€"making its antenna randomly sway. That has failed to detect bombs on passenger trains, roads, and in vehicles in the war-torn south.

Thailand purchased a total of 1,576 GT200s and Alpha 6s, according to the DSI. The army is still using most of its 750 GT200s in Thailand's three Muslim-majority southern provinces.

After 2006, hundreds more of the devices were bought by the Border Patrol Police Bureau, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, the Justice Ministry's Institute of Forensic Science, the Customs Department and other agencies.

These include the Defense Ministry's Royal Aide-de-Camp Department, responsible for the security of Thailand's king, queen, crown prince and other royal family members.

On Feb. 26, 2010, the American Embassy in Bangkok alerted the U.S. National Security Council, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Secretary of Defense, the military's Pacific Command in Hawaii, and U.S. embassies in Japan, China, South Korea and elsewhere about Thailand's continued use of the GT200.

The "confidential" report, released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, was titled "GT200 Bomb Detector Failure Ignites Discussion on Civil-Mil (Civilian-Military) Relations, Human Rights, Procurement," and said in part:

"The GT200 is used throughout Thailand by many agencies, most notably in the conflict-ridden Deep South. The bomb detection squad in Yala [a Muslim-majority province in southern Thailand] told us that they never thought it worked, but they were ordered to use it. The squad passed the GT200 to Emboff (U.S. Embassy officials) to hold; it looked and felt like a toy," the embassy's report said.

The U.S. Embassy noted "the questionable use of the device to detain alleged insurgents," because the antenna wobbles toward innocent people who are then detained and interrogated.

"To most people, the GT200 appears to be a glorified dowsing rod," the U.S. Embassy said, comparing the erratic antenna to a wooden twig which people claim detects water.

"We have done a double-blind test where the equipment was only successful in discovering [explosives] in 20 percent of the cases, when just a random choice would give you 25 percent," then-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced in 2010. "So there is no statistical significance to having the equipment."

After that belated test, Bangkok banned additional "procurement" of both devices, but not their continued use by security forces. As a result, the military and other security agencies have become the laughing stock of Thailand's media and society for using the devices.

A Bangkok Post editorial cartoon on July 22 portrayed a DSI investigator using a gigantic GT200 to electronically zap a uniformed official, who stumbles after being hit.

Following the paper trail, Thai media dubbed the faulty devices as "corruption detectors."

The DSI's announcement came several days after an 18-month international investigation by Britain which resulted in British businessman Jim McCormick being charged in London on July 11 with fraud for allegedly selling fake bomb detectors to 20 countries.

In January 2010, Britain banned various fake bomb detectors being exported to Iraq and Afghanistan, after the Iraqi government paid $85 million for 1,500 hand-held devices named ADE651, allegedly produced by ATSC, McCormick's company.

When that ban was announced, the British Broadcasting Corp. said it "obtained a GT200 that was sold as a bomb detector, and discovered that it was almost identical to the ADE651," and sold in England by Global Technical, headed by Gary Bolton.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


You might regard them as effective if you take a broader view. Let's say that the human operator is an expendable youth from Isaan in military uniform. If the device fails to detect a bomb, then seconds later his foot will find it.

Taman Tun

The GT200 is on a par with the Scientologists 'e' meter.  This is a device for which wonderful properties are claimed but in reality is just a body resistance meter.  It's clever feature is that the measurement is displayed on an undamped moving coil meter. So the indicator needle oscillates all over the place before reaching a steady state value.  That must impress the gullible punters no end.  Total cost is about 3000 US.  Not bad for 30 US of components.  I am currently developing a handheld drugs detector, the DD500, which will sell for around 10,000 US.  If you want to be part of this exciting scam ,er opportunity just pm me your bank details.
If the old only could, if the young only knew.


You don't need a detector for hand held drugs. You just look at the hand. See, you can't fool me!

I'm putting my money into the road scheme. A much safer bet!



9-year jail term for supplier of GT200 fake bomb detectors

The Don Muang district court on Wednesday sentenced the supplier of fake GT200 bomb and narcotic detectors to nine years in jail for selling ineffective devices to the Royal Aide-De-Camp Department.

The ruling was handed down to Sutthiwat Wathanakij, executive of AVA Satcom Co, for sales of eight GT200 remote substance detectors ordered from Britain for a total of 9 million baht.

The court found him guilty of three offences, each of which resulted in a three-year term and a fine of 6,000 baht.

Defence lawyer Wora-at Soontorn-apichart said his client would appeal because the company had acquired the devices according to specifications and had not had a chance to test them.

The company was unable to store the military devices, he said, and had to deliver them as soon as they arrived at the airport.

The court set bail at 900,000 baht, the lawyer said.

Last week the same court sentenced Sutthiwat to 10 years in jail for selling similar devices to the army for 600 million baht.

Taman Tun

I wonder what happened to the Brit who made these devices in his garden shed in Luton?
If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Taman Tun

According to a BBC report in April this year James McCormick has had his jail term extended by 2 years for failing to repay the proceeds of his crime.
If the old only could, if the young only knew.


Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.



Military ‘filed GT200-related lawsuits a long time ago’

ALL MILITARY units have taken legal action against their suppliers of GT200 bomb/narcotics detectors after they were found not to work.

“The Defence Ministry started legal proceedings after their overseas sales representatives were convicted of fraud around 2013,” Defence Ministry spokesman Lt-General Kongcheep Tantravanich said on Thursday.

He was speaking up after a Bangkok court on Wednesday convicted Avia Satcom Company and its top executive of fraud for supplying the ineffective GT200 devices and related supplies to the Royal Aide-De-Camp Department.

“Units in the armed forces bought the devices at different times. So, they filed the lawsuits separately and at different times too,” Kongcheep explained.

If the military wins the criminal lawsuits, they too will be able to sue for compensation, he added.

Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon, who is also deputy prime minister overseeing security affairs, has already instructed all relevant units to expedite the cases, said Deputy Defence Minister General Chaichan Changmongkol,

When asked about the scandal, Prawit on Thursday maintained that the armed forces did nothing wrong in purchasing the useless devices.

“At that time, our testing teams said the devices worked,” he said.

The GT200 bomb detectors have turned out to be a global scam, with fraudsters having sold the devices to several countries before their fraud was exposed and confirmed.

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