Praphas Charusathien (Thai: ประภาส จารุเสถียร, RTGS: Praphat Charusathian, Thai pronunciation: [pràʔpʰâːt t͡ɕaːrúʔsàʔtʰǐan]; 25 November 1912 – 18 August 1997) was a Thai military officer and politician. He was a field marshal (chom phon) of the Royal Thai Army and minister of interior in the governments of military rulers Sarit Thanarat and Thanom Kittikachorn.
Praphas graduated from the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy and became an infantry officer. He was sponsored by Field Marshal and Prime Minister-to-be Sarit Thanarat. He was quickly promoted to higher ranks. In 1957, Sarit appointed him minister of interior, a position in which he continued to serve after Sarit’s death in 1963. The new Prime Minister was Thanom Kittikachorn, whose son married Praphas’ daughter. From 1963 to 1973, he was additionally deputy prime minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army. During this time, Praphas was the strong man in the background who pulled the strings in the Thanom government. He was known for obscure financial transactions and political intrigues.
In 1973, he was replaced as army commander by General Krit Srivara, which indicated his loss of influence. In October 1973 protests against the rigid military rule grew into a massive popular uprising that was answered by a bloody crackdown on the protesting students and democracy activists. The many dead civilists prompted King Bhumibol Adulyadej to intervene. Praphas, Thanom and his son Colonel Narong Kittikachorn went into exile.
Praphas returned to Thailand in January 1977, after the military had ended the democratic interlude in October 1976. However, he was not able to exercise political influence again.
Praphas Charusathien died on 18 August 1997 in Bangkok.
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