Rushed raid raises doubts
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Rushed raid raises doubts

The Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau's (CCIB) decision to search the house of deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn, who is among those tipped to be the next national police chief, couldn't come at a worse time.

The court-warranted search seemed to confirm the rumour that the appointment of the next national police chief will not be as smooth as predicted and tainted by political intervention.

The timing of the raid, in particular, raises questions about the urgency of the matter, with some asking if it was really necessary to search his house yesterday, two days before the cabinet is due to announce the name of the next police chief.

In response, Pol Gen Surachate said the raid was meant to discredit him by linking him to illegal gambling activities. Unsurprising, as a search over ties to criminal groups can severely affect the career prospects of an active officer.

With such accusations being thrown around, the government must ensure that the selection of the next national police chief will be merit-based and done in a fair and transparent manner.

The Royal Thai Police also need to make sure the accusations against Pol Gen Surachate and his subordinates are grounded and substantiated with water-tight evidence.

Rumours of rivalry for the top job in the RTP gained momentum last week after Pol Gen Surachate was told to hand over the investigation into the fatal shooting of a police officer in Nakhon Pathom.

The RTP reasoned Pol Gen Surachate's work was rushed and error-prone before adding the deputy national police chief was more focused on finding fault with 13 out of the 20-plus officers present at the party instead of finding the killer.

One of those officers, Pol Col Vachina Yaothaisong, ended up taking his own life.

Regardless of what the truth may be, the furore surrounding Big Joke is hurting the credibility of the entire police force. Even worse, many are now suspecting certain elements in the RTP are moving to protect their proteges, further damaging the force's reputation.

There are plenty of corruption allegations made against police officers, but the majority of in-house probes by the RTP have led to nowhere.

One of the examples is the case involving former national police chief Somyot Poompanmuang and current education minister Pol Gen Permpoon Chidchob, who was assistant national police chief at the time.

Last week, both were implicated by the Office of National Anti-Corruption Commission in the hit-and-run case involving the scion of the Red Bull energy drink empire, Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya, for evidence tampering.

The onus will fall on the next national police chief, regardless of who he is.

The new police chief will face an uphill battle to ensure the investigations against police officers accused of corruption and bribery are carried out in a professional manner, without fear or favour.

The investigation into the policemen present at the party house in Nakhon Pathom must continue, and the bad apples within the force must be rooted out and brought to justice.

The next national police chief must not only enforce the law but also make sure all his subordinates are not spared from punishment if there is evidence against them which points to wrongdoing.

Editorial

Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

Email : anchaleek@bangkokpost.co.th

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