For almost two years, the Bangkok Farmer’s Market ran a racketeering system at the expense of the poor farmers as well as traders. Ryu SAKAMOTO and Han Tran POUH offered the farmers as well as traders a bribe, which he euphemistically termed as donation. He wanted to enjoy 3000 to 15 000 bht revenue for the places in the major Bangkok’s market, although the location was conceded to him gratis.
This market system worked without the knowledge of the K Village’s owner, who thought she was simply doing charitable works by providing free space to the organic farmers and traders.
Citizenkane investigated in the heart of Bangkok Farmer’s Market, where farmers and traders suffered these methods.
The family Athakravi in Bangkok, owns a field in which it maintains the major market hub, K Village. From 2011, Martha Stewart living deployed the largest open market to farmers as well as rice growers, completely free of cost from K Village. The Farmer Market is partly based on a simple idea : to allow Thailand’s rice growers and farmers to sell their crops directly to the consumers, without going through the filter confiscatory intermediaries.
A Farmer’s Market in the area of K Village was a perfect match for the local residential community.
The operation was a successful one; so, the owner of K Village saw the advantages to repeat the experience, providing a free field to the farmers. Ryu SAKAMOTO and Han Tran POUH ensured the owner of K Village to deploy a community space designed to promote organic farming and farmers and traders.
Ryu SAKAMOTO ensured that it had a global major sponsor allowing it to meet the costs.
Now it is time to examine the facts – 130 traders and farmers had to pay a sum of 3000 -15000 BHT as an annual fee, in order to have a ‘free’ place in the market. Sakamoto boasted having as many as 600 to 900 vendors in hand.
The height of corruption was achieved due to the bribing policies.
Han Tran Pouh invited farmers and traders to pay a so called “donation” of 1500 to 6000 BHT in order to apply for a booth each weekend for selling at K Village. A better place on the market could be purchased with a larger bribe.
The owner of K Village, Nilubol Nandabhiwat was offended by this violation of the principle of ‘free agreement’. She took attaches with Ryu SAKAMOTO and Han Tran Pouh, accusing them of violating their conventions and demanding a contract; written this time. In vain, Ryu SAKAMOTO denied collecting any amount of money.
Since early december 2014 Han Tran Pouh disappeared / left the company ; then the committee of Bangkok farmer market “decided to break off relations with K Village” pretending on the Facebook page of the Bangkok Farmer’s Market that K Village owners raised the lease of the market.
K Village repossessed its land and deployed a new Farmers’ Market, despite of the threats and rumors exempted from the merchants.
In Farmer’s Market, K Village Nilubol Nandabhiwat would do exactly what she wanted to, right from the beginning; i.e., help new entrepreneurs and farmers to present their harvest as well as their products directly to consumers, make donations to foundations and set up a vendors’ group so they can be independent from all middlemen.
CitizenKane have been trying in vain for many days to have an interview with Sakamoto. Silence and no replies are what we get so far.