NACC takes over gambling probe involving senior policeman
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NACC takes over gambling probe involving senior policeman

Surachate: Faces laundering charge
Surachate: Faces laundering charge

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has resolved to take over from the police an investigation into the alleged involvement of deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn and four other parties in a major online gambling network that was busted earlier.

Supported by the commission's majority vote conducted at its meeting on Monday, the resolution was announced on Tuesday.

Since the case is closely related to another investigation -- in which Pol Col Phakphum Phitsamai, a deputy chief investigator at Provincial Police Region 4, and seven other parties stand accused of being involved in the same online gambling network -- the NACC will take up the Pol Col Phakphum case for investigation as well, the NACC said.

It had previously dismissed a request by the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau to look into the second case because Pol Col Phakphum was not considered a high-level state official whom the NACC has the authority to probe over suspected malfeasance or other misconduct, the NACC added.

However, on Dec 27, police investigators submitted to the NACC a letter indicating that Pol Gen Surachate and four parties were implicated in bribes received from the online gambling network, which has led to money-laundering charges being levelled against them, said the NACC.

On Feb 2, the police investigation team inquired in a letter as to whether the NACC would agree to take up the Pol Gen Surachate case, which prompted the agency to convene a meeting, it said.

Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat Pankaew, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, meanwhile, said the NACC has the authority to decide independently whether or not to investigate these cases. Even though the NACC has taken over both cases, police investigators can still explore related criminal aspects, including the money trail of the online gambling network, which might lead to more suspects being named and charged, he said.

These suspects could include high-level police officials, he noted.

Earlier last month, Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat said Pol Gen Surachate would likely be one of five suspects to face a probe by the NACC in connection with the online gambling ring, prompting the latter to come forward and dismiss the allegation.

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