September’s coup in Thailand has had little to no effect on the gem industry in the Southeast Asian country, several persons told JCK.
“All is well in Bangkok,” said Randy Park, director of GIA Thailand. “Coups are commonplace here, although this is the first in about 15 years. This one was very peaceful.”
Between 1971 and 1992, there were nine coups in Thailand.
Park described the military takeover of the government as “almost a nonevent.”
“The only noticeable effect was no traffic for a day,” he said. “All government offices, all schools and post offices, were closed for one day only, resulting in a beautifully quiet day in Bangkok.”
Ravi Lunia of Fai Dee Gems Co., specialists in Burmese rubies, noted that many in the country were anticipating such an event. “The coup was kind of expected because of the political situation and the way things were going in Thailand,” Lunia said. “Everything is normal so far and is expected to remain normal in the coming days. My family and employees are all safe. As for business, we have to wait and watch.”
The coup took place shortly after the Bangkok Gems & Jewellery Fair, which was held Sept. 13–17.
Barbara Lipatapanlop, executive director for ICA in New York, who lived in Thailand for 15 years, says she’s been in contact with several professional acquaintances and heard that there was little to no disruption of business.
“Things are rather normal in Bangkok, except that there are military tanks around the government buildings,” she said. “While that is, of course, unusual, life goes on. There was a curfew, but the coup is expected to have only limited and temporary ramifications according to the business leaders I spoke with.”