Akkharaphongpricha name withdrawn; Kerdampang used instead (updated)

All suspects in the police scandal and other family members bearing the Akkharaphongpricha family name will have to change it on Monday (presumably to their original surname "Kerdampang") according to an order issued by the Principal Private Secretary of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

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The letter dated Nov 28 to the permanent secretary of the Interior Ministry from the Principal Private Secretary of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Sunday morning update

Previous surname revealed

Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri, spokesman for the Royal Thai Police, says the royally-bestowed Akkharaphongpricha surname has been removed from the register of family names approved by the monarchy.

Family members will now use their previous surname "Kerdampang."

Thus the family members in custody are now to be known as Natthapol Kerdampang, Sitthisak Kerdampang and Narong Kerdampang.

Mr Natthapol and Mr Sitthisak have been sacked from posts in the Chief of Staff's Office at the Crown Prince’s command centre, Pol Lt Gen Prawut said. Mr Natthapol was an assistant administrative officer and Mr Sitthisak was a clerk. Mr Narong was also dismissed from the Royal Household Bureau civil service.

Saturday evening story

Akkharaphongpricha name withdrawn

Online reporters

The Principal Private Secretary of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has ordered the Interior Ministry to remove the Akkharaphongpricha family name from the registration system.

A letter dated Nov 28 to the permanent secretary of the Interior Ministry states that any people using the royally granted family name must stop using it and go back to using their old surname.

A family with one or more members who have served the country or the palace loyally may apply for a royally granted surname under the 1915 Surnames Act. If granted, it is considered an honour for the family and its descendants.

The letter signed by ACM Sathitpong Sukwimol, the secretary to the Crown Prince, gave no reason for the order.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri, a police spokesman, on Saturday confirmed the authenticity of the order and said that all suspects bearing the Akkharaphongpricha family name would have to change it on Monday. The order applies to all other persons using the surname as well, he added.

Three suspects bearing the surname are currently in police custody. They are Mr Natthapol, Mr Sitthisak and Mr Narong.

The three men are among 17 people arrested so far in connection with a massive corruption and bribery network allegedly headed by Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayapan, the former chief of the Central Investigation Bureau.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut said earlier that Mr Natthapol had also been stripped of his military rank.

The three suspects and two others — Chakan Phakphum and Sutthisak Sutthijit — are accused of the crimes of citing the monarchy to obtain benefits and money from others, illegally collecting debts, illegally detaining people, and extortion. They are the same charges as those pressed against Pol Lt Gen Pongpat.

The five were arrested on Wednesday as investigators widened their probe following the detention of Pol Lt Gen Pongpat and other officers and civilians including his deputy Pol Maj Gen Kowit Wongrungrot on Nov 22. National police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang ordered all of them relieved of their duties the next day.

Police have arrest warrants for five more people said to be involved in the corruption network.

Corrections Department officials accompany Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayapan, the former Central Investigation Bureau chief, from the Criminal Court to the Special Remand Prison on Saturday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The former CIB chief was taken to the Criminal Court on Saturday by police from an unknown location after officers had completed their interrogation.

He was later accompanied by Corrections Department officials to the Special Remand Prison in Lak Si for detention. Pol Lt Gen Pongpat will be detained until Dec 5 under court approval.

But Pol Col Ekkarak Limsangkat of the Metropolitan Police Bureau said police would seek permission from the court on Dec 4 for further detention for 12 more days since Dec 5 is a public holiday.

Pol Lt Gen Pongpat and 16 others — six police officers and 10 civilians — stand accused of receiving bribes in exchange for transferring or promoting police officers, demanding money from oil smuggling gangs, making money from gambling businesses, laundering money, and citing the monarchy as a way to gain benefits.

Police are also investigating close to 50 more law enforcement officials whose names appear on a bribe payment record seized from a house owned by a southern businessman suspected of operating a major oil-smuggling ring in the South.

Related search:  Akkharaphongpricha, lese majeste, crime, pongpat chayapan, arrest

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Writer: Terry Fredrickson
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