Lawyer reaffirms defence of Big Joke's arrested team

Lawyer reaffirms defence of Big Joke's arrested team

Ananchai Chaidet, lawyer for Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, talks to reporters on Monday. (Photo supplied)
Ananchai Chaidet, lawyer for Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, talks to reporters on Monday. (Photo supplied)

The lawyer representing eight subordinates of Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn charged with involvement in the operations of gambling websites said on Monday the deputy police chief had consulted him on whether they should continue the fight.

Ananchai Chaidet told reporters that Pol Gen Surachate talked to him on the phone on Saturday, seeking advice on whether the eight officers should back down from the planned legal battle. 

He had replied they could not just walk away because the eight officers were being persecuted and had been charged.

Pol Gen Surachat, known as Big Joke, said he had been asked by a senior police officer to give up the legal battle, but would not say who had made the request, the lawyer said.

Mr Ananchai said he had insisted he would continue to do the job he had taken on, as he had declared an all-out offensive.

He advised Pol Gen Surachate to be careful in what he said, as it could affect his plans for the court hearings.

Asked by reporters about his planned "big surprise" for Oct 5, Mr Ananchai said nothing had changed, but would not reveal details. He had all the documents prepared and was confident it would have a considerable impact on the Royal Thai Police Office, he said.

Asked whether it concerned the appointment of the new police chief, Mr Ananchai replied, "wait and see".

He also said the "big surprise" would not be made public if Pol Gen Surachate dropped him as his lawyer.

Commando police on Sept 25 searched a house occupied by Pol Gen Surachate and four other houses in Soi Vibhavadi 60 in Bangkok, but found nothing illegal. The same day, 30 premises in six provinces were also searched. Twenty-three suspects, including the eight police officers under Pol Gen Surachate, were arrested for alleged involvement in the operations of a network of online gambling sites.

The searches preceded the Sept 27 meeting of the Police Commission chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to select the new commander of the Royal Thai Police Office.  The commission chose Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, who was fourth in seniority of the four deputy police chiefs eligible for the position. 

Later on Monday national police chief Pol Gen Torsak assigned Pol Gen Surachate to supervise security affairs instead of investigation. As a result, a source said, Pol Gen Surachate would not oversee major crime cases nationwide as he did previously.

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