Police general shunted after landing chopper at temple

Police general shunted after landing chopper at temple

A Bell 419 of the Royal Thai Police Office lands at Wat Chedi in Sichol district of Nakhon Si Thammarat province on Friday. (Photo from @Watchdog.ACT Facebook account)
A Bell 419 of the Royal Thai Police Office lands at Wat Chedi in Sichol district of Nakhon Si Thammarat province on Friday. (Photo from @Watchdog.ACT Facebook account)

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: A senior regional officer of the Tourism Police Bureau has been transferred to headquarters pending investigation after social media showed his helicopter landing inside the compound of a famous temple.

Tourism Police chief Pol Lt Gen Chettha Komolwattana signed the order moving Pol Maj Gen Krissak Songmoolnak, chief of the Tourist Police Division 3 based in Phuket, to the Bangkok head office effective on Monday.

The transfer was made to clear the way for an investigation into his improper decision to allow a helicopter carrying himself and other passengers to land at Wat Chedi in Sichol district on Friday.

The temple is revered by worshippers and he should have found a better landing padand then continued to the temple by car, the order said.

A photo of the helicopter parked on the ground inside the temple was posted on the Watchdog Facebook account. The poster said linked it to Pol Maj Gen Krissak's arrival to make a votive offering to the statute of Ai Khai. A pickup truck loaded with 3 million firecrackers was also seen on the premises.

Ai Khai is a statue of a boy respected by visitors to the temple.

The temple responded on its Facebook account, saying Pol Maj Gen Krissak was at the temple to monitor safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. (continues below)

The statue of Ai Khai at Wat Chedi. (Photo by Nujaree Raekrun)

Worrathaya Jaihaow, proprietor of Bao A Firecracker shop, said the fireworks had been ordered by a group of South Koreans, who set them off in a show of respects to the statue before the Bell 419 helicopter arrived. The Koreans had visited the statute to ask for help in making their business successful, she said.

Tourist Police Division 3 posted a Facebook message asking that its boss be treated fairly. 


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