Shaping up for the top job

Shaping up for the top job

Officer tipped as next police chief has seen the lot

Roy: Rapid ascent in the force
Roy: Rapid ascent in the force

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Roy Ingkapairote is among candidates tipped for the top job at the Royal Thai Police (RTP), having already been placed in charge of tackling key issues including human trafficking, the illegal drug trade and crimes related to the environment.

He attended Triam Udom Suksa School before enrolling at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School and then the Royal Police Cadet Academy.

He earned a bachelor's degree in law from Ramkhamhaeng University and a masters in public administration in the US.

He also participated in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Academy training course for international law enforcement officers as well as an equivalent course in Australia.

Pol Gen Roy rose through the ranks at the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), working first as a detective at the Crime Suppression Division before assuming a role in the tourist police.

He was then handed assignments at the Royal Thai Police's Special Branch involving transnational crime and terrorism.

Later he was appointed chief of the Tourist Police Bureau at a time when the government wanted the police force to play a role in boosting confidence among foreign visitors.

Pol Gen Roy introduced the use of facial recognition technology to compare images of criminals in tourist areas with driving licence photos to deter crime.

He also opened a Line account to communicate with tourists and launched the Tourist Buddy app so visitors can more easily seek police assistance.

He was later put in charge of operations to crack down on foreign criminal groups in major tourist provinces and solve cases involving the murder of foreigners.

Under his leadership, the Tourist Police Bureau was ranked top among police units under the CIB in 2013.

Pol Gen Roy's ascent up the ranks continued when he was appointed deputy commissioner of the CIB, later becoming commissioner of the Special Branch Bureau. He was made an assistant national police chief in 2018 and last year was promoted to deputy national police chief.

With about two years left in office before his mandatory retirement in 2024, Pol Gen Roy is a front-runner to succeed the current national police chief who retires at the end of September.

Indeed, it was outgoing Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk who put Pol Gen Roy in charge of the RTP's women and children protection programme and anti-human trafficking centre, the narcotics prevention and suppression centre, and the centre for the suppression of illegal logging and destruction of natural resources.

"The government has given special priority to human trafficking. However, issues related to migration and illegal entry must also be taken into account,'' he said.

Regarding migration, Pol Gen Roy said it is normal for people to move to new countries seeking better lives for themselves and their families.

A case in point is the 59 Rohingya migrants found abandoned on an island off mainland Satun province on June 4.

Police are investigating who brought the migrants into Thai waters after preliminary questioning indicated they were travelling by boat from Bangladesh to Malaysia. The boat had dropped them off on the island about a week ago before sailing away, according to the group.

Pol Gen Roy said a set of criteria has been devised in consultation with the Labour Ministry and Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, to distinguish victims of human trafficking from other types of illegal entry.

There have also been recent high-profile cases of Thai women travelling to take up offers of work at entertainment venues in Myanmar only to flee back to Thailand later, claiming they were forced into prostitution, Pol Gen Roy said.

''Some of them were initially willing to work there as they were promised a good income only to discover later that the jobs were not what they expected.

"Some entered the country illegally and when Covid-19 hit, they had no freedom of movement so they decided to return home. Some claimed they were mistreated and asked Thai authorities for help getting home," Pol Gen Roy said.

Regarding the crackdown on the illegal drugs trade, he said the police force is now focusing on confiscating assets rather than seizing drugs in a move intended to stifle the financial resources of drug traffickers.

Drug traders tend to stay away from the drugs and pay couriers to deliver them to destinations, he said.

''Police can only arrest couriers but cannot lay their hands on the real culprits. So we try to arrest everyone involved to break down the networks. But it is a tough challenge to reach the real traffickers,'' he said.

Between Oct 1 of last year and June 1, police seized drug-related assets worth more than 4.2 billion baht.

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