Police must net 'big fish' too

Police must net 'big fish' too

Former national police spokesman Pol Gen Prawut Thavornsiri has already resigned from the police service. This was confirmed by Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda who said the ex-spokesman tendered his resignation on Oct 29 to the office personnel registrar. He added that the resignation was not connected with the ongoing investigation into a gang of suspected lese majeste offenders who allegedly cited the monarchy for financial gain.

The confirmed resignation of Pol Gen Prawut ended week-long speculation that the embattled spokesman might call it quits after he was abruptly removed from the spokesman's post which he held for less than a month. Since then, he has not been seen publicly and was reported to have travelled overseas for a holiday.

Despite repeated confirmation of Pol Gen Prawut's non-involvement with the alleged lese majeste gang by the police chief, mystery lingers over the real reason for his sudden removal as the police spokesman and, now, his resignation.

Pol Gen Chakthip may know something that he does not want to share with members of the public. But the public has the right to know what is going on in the police force as far as the lese majeste case is concerned.

So far, four suspects have been arrested by the police on lese majeste charges for allegedly citing the monarchy to demand sponsorship money from companies for the "Bike for Mom" and "Bike for Dad" cycling events. One of them, Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa, committed suicide while being held in detention. The other suspects include fortune teller Suriyan "Mor Yong" Sucharitpolwong, his close aide Jirawong Wattanathewasilp and Sukkho Tamseri.

But more are believed to be linked to the gang. Pol Lt Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, acting deputy police chief who is in charge of investigating the case, said that about 50 other suspects, including army officers with the ranks of major general and colonel, were involved in the illegal activity.

But whether any of these "big fish" will ever be identified and caught depends on how determined the police are to dig deep into the case and how the army will cooperate with the police if and when its men are implicated.

Pol Lt Gen Srivara was reported to have said that the army had not lodged a complaint with the police against any of its officers for involvement with Mor Yong's gang. He also admitted that there was no hard evidence yet to link the men with the gang but only the testimonies from the arrested suspects implicating them.

This is a big scandal which is of public interest. And as far as the public is concerned, any attempt to spare the "big fish" because the truth would be too embarrassing is completely unacceptable.

The investigation must be transparent and fair to all the relevant parties. Regrettably though, the case is shrouded in a thick layer of secrecy and there are still several major questions that need answering.

It is suspected that Mor Yong and his associates in detention are just a part of the network that has exploited the name of the revered institution for their personal gains. The rest of them and the "big fish" in particular must be exposed and dealt with in accordance with the letter of the law without exception.

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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