Saprang Kalayanamitr

General Saprang Kalayanamitr (Thai: พลเอก สพรั่ง กัลยาณมิตร, also known as Poei (Thai: เปย) or Big Poei (Thai: บิ๊กเปย), born 8 July 1948 in Lampang, Thailand) is a retired officer of the Royal Thai Army, Assistant Secretary-General of the Council for National Security, Commander of the junta's 14,000-man anti-protest force, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Airports of Thailand (AoT), and also Chairman of the Boards of TOT and CAT Telecom, two major Thai state-owned telecommunication companies.

Saprang grew up in an aristocratic military family and graduated from the 7th Class of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School and the 18th Class of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. He served for nearly three decades in the Army cavalry corp, and was promoted to 3rd Army Region Commander in 2005. He was a key leader of the September 2006 coup that overthrew the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Saprang is one of the fiercest critics of Thaksin Shinawatra, calling him a "traitor" and claiming that he should be "banished to live forever in the jungle." Upon appointment to chair Airports of Thailand and TOT, he purged the management, initiated investigations into the overthrown government, and donated 200 million baht of the agency's funds to the Army. He fired the President of TOT for questioning an 800 million baht donation that the agency made to the Army. As head of CAT Telecom, he was accused of blocking attempts to launch People's Television, a new television station founded by ex-leaders of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party.

Saprang was considered one of the top contenders to lead the army and the junta after CNS-leader Sonthi Boonyaratkalin's mandatory retirement in 2007. However, in September 2007 he was demoted to be Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Defense Ministry, while his rival, General Anupong Paochinda, was promoted to lead the Army. As a result, Saprang retired from the Army in 2010.

Read more about Saprang Kalayanamitr:  After The 2006 Coup, Family, Trivia, See Also