South post lottery draw upsets cops
A group of specialist police investigators are protesting against a lottery system which could result in them being transferred to the far South.
- Published: 28/12/2012 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Pol Lt Col Khaisaeng Thawilwong, representing 76 officers from Provincial Police Region 4 who oppose the plan, yesterday submitted a letter to the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok, asking it to review the order for investigators to enter their names into the random draw.
National police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew plans to select officers at random from a pool of about 4,000 specialist investigators nationwide and send them to fill vacant postings in the restive South.
The draw has been scheduled for Jan 7.
Pol Lt Col Khaisaeng, who is currently posted in Khon Kaen province, said the group of officers was not protesting against being transferred to the South, but rather against the random selection process.
Most of the officers whose names would be drawn were 40-50 years old with family responsibilities, he said.
With the protest letter handed over yesterday representing the last avenue of appeal against the move to their superiors, Pol Lt Col Khaisaeng said the officers would now consider asking the Administrative Court to issue a temporary injunction to suspend the draw if their demands were not addressed.
The prospect of assignment to the southern provinces has caused anguish among police officers' families, given news reports of the near-daily attacks in Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani and Songkhla, he said.
According to the Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Centre, at least 280 police officers were killed and nearly 1,200 injured in the far South between 2004 and 2011.
Pol Gen Adul has pleaded for cooperation from investigators who are refusing to put their names in the draw, but has refused to reconsider the order.
The police chief said the region still needs about 150 specialist investigators, but only about 30 had volunteered for assignment there.
He said if they refuse to take part in the draw voluntarily, they may be forced to do so.
While he acknowledged it was normal for officers not to want to be away from their families, they should put the country's needs ahead of their own, he said.
The police chief said he had been assigned to the South for three years as a junior officer and had never complained.
Pol Gen Adul said he had asked Provincial Police Region 4 to investigate whether the officers had violated the police code of conduct.
According to the Deep South Watch, a Pattani-based research body focusing on the southern violence, about 17,000 police officers are stationed in the far South.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who oversees the police force, yesterday slammed the protesting officers for lacking discipline.
Mr Chalerm said officers are duty-bound to act on the orders of their superiors.
Police officers deployed to the South are entitled to more welfare benefits than those stationed elsewhere, he said.
"If you are unhappy, you should quit. The 76 officers should face a disciplinary investigation," Mr Chalerm said.
The deputy PM also said he will visit Malaysia from Jan 8-10 to hold talks with Malaysian authorities.
He declined to specify what topics will be discussed, but said the situation in the far South would improve after the talks.
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- Writer: Post Reporters
- Position: Reporters