Three senior police officers sacked in Ponzi network case

Three senior police officers sacked in Ponzi network case

Pol Maj Gen Rungroj Sangkham, deputy chief of staff, along with Pol Maj Gen Surachai Soadajakupdip at Tuesday's meeting of the Region 4 investigative committee into the  Loei Provincial Cooperative Savings Bank case. (Photo: Police Region 4)
Pol Maj Gen Rungroj Sangkham, deputy chief of staff, along with Pol Maj Gen Surachai Soadajakupdip at Tuesday's meeting of the Region 4 investigative committee into the Loei Provincial Cooperative Savings Bank case. (Photo: Police Region 4)

KHON KAEN: Three senior police officers at Provincial Police Region 4 have been dismissed from the civil service and 15 others transferred to inactive posts at Royal Thai Police headquarters in connection with a high-profile investigation into a Ponzi network.

The three dismissed officers are being investigated for serious disciplinary offences in connection with the Ponzi scheme allegedly run by Pol Maj Gen Suthip Palitkusolthat, a deputy chief at the Royal Thai Police human resources office and former Loei police chief.

They are: Pol Col Chayawuth Chansombun, deputy chief of Loei provincial police; Pol Col Udon Chukan, chief of the Loei provincial police investigation division; and Pol Lt Col Kritsada Nitipot, of Chum Phae police station in Khon Kaen.

The order expelling them from the force was signed on Monday by national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda and received and published at the Police Region 4 office in Khon Kaen on Tuesday morning.

The three allegedly colluded in fraud in connection with Pol Maj Gen Suthip’s alleged Ponzi network, in which 240 people suffered estimated total losses of more than 500 million baht. Among them were 196 police officers in Loei believed to have been swindled out of 240 million baht in total.

Pol Maj Gen Suthip was suspended from active duty last month.

The three sacked officials can appeal against the dismissal order within 30 days, or petition the Administrative Court against the order within 90 days.

The 15 other officers abruptly transfer to Bangkok as part of the same investigation include Pol Maj Gen Thanasak Ritthidetphaibun, deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 4, and Pol Col Witthaya Thonglao, a deputy chief of Udon Thani provincial police.

Pol Maj Gen Thanasak was previously in charge of the investigation into the Ponzi case.

The fraud allegedly began when Pol Maj Gen Suthip was Loei police chief and chairman of the provincial police cooperative.

He is accused of persuading local policemen to borrow from the cooperative to clear their debts with various creditors.

He also offered to manage the borrowed money and promised them monthly investment returns of about 5,000 baht.

The policemen believed him and transferred the money to Pol Maj Gen Suthip, who failed to pay either the promised returns or to clear their debts.

Pol Maj Gen Thanasak Ritthidetphaibun, deputy chief of the Provincial Police Region 4, speaks to reporters when he was in charge of the police investigation into the Ponzi network allegedly operated by the former Loei police chief. Pol Maj Gen Thanasak was abruptly transferred to an inactive post on Tuesday. (File photo by Chakkrapan Natnari)


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