The BlackBerry smartphones issued to 873 district chiefs nationwide were part of a marketing campaign by the distributor and were not funded by the taxpayers as the opposition claimed, Interior Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Chavarat Charnvirakul said on Monday.I wonder what would be worse - the phones bought by the Ministry and given to their employees as a bonus (what for), or the company being so selfless and giving them out for free for distribution? Even I don't know anything about marketing, it does not look like a normal way to boost sales by giving away so many samples to bureaucrats. Media personalities would be the much more obvious choice. So its no wonder both the normally not quite investigative Thai media, as well as Thai political bloggers smell foul play here.
One strange fact from the news is that only 873 district officers got a phone, but there are 878 districts. What happened with remaining five district officers? Why those haven't received a phone - are these five "red" district officers, who were not rewarded for political reasons? Or is it just another example of sloppy reporting by mixing up a number? Or are there currently five district officer positions vacant maybe? Sadly I don't have a current complete list of district officers to proof at least this last explanation?