Big Joke will be treated fairly: PM
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Big Joke will be treated fairly: PM

Pol Gen Surachate
Pol Gen Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn. (File photo)

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, aka "Big Joke", who is suspected of involvement in a high-profile money-laundering case, will be treated fairly after he signed an order suspending him from duty.

Following the order, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) has requested the return of Pol Gen Surachate so he can face disciplinary punishment. He was transferred to an inactive post at the PM's Office on March 20.

Mr Srettha on Friday told the media that he had met acting national police chief Pol Gen Kitrat Panphet to discuss the matter and the case involving national police chief Torsak Sukvimol, who was transferred to an inactive post along with Pol Gen Surachate.

The premier said Pol Gen Surachate's suspension was the result of the justice system, adding that Pol Gen Torsak's case was different. He also said a probe panel would finish its investigation as soon as possible.

On Thursday, the acting police chief signed an order suspending Pol Gen Surachate, along with four subordinates, over alleged money laundering in connection with the BNK Master gambling website.

The four other police are Pol Col Kittichai Sangkhathaworn, Pol Lt Col Karit Pariyaket, Pol Sgt Natthawut Wadwaew and Pol Sgt Natthanan Chuchak.

Pol Gen Surachate, once touted as a possible national police chief, is accused of colluding in money laundering and using his position as a state official to facilitate the crime, in violation of sections 5, 9 and 10 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Pol Gen Kitrat said the RTP has formed a probe panel, chaired by deputy police chief Sarawut Kanpanich, to ascertain whether the accused have committed other offences and to find links with other accomplices.

Pol Gen Surachate has the right to appeal and testify under the Royal Thai Police Act, he added.

Meanwhile, regarding Pol Gen Torsak's case, former deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau chief, Pol Maj Gen Wichai Sangprapai, said Pol Gen Torsak would also face legal action if the panel finds grounds to the online gambling network allegations such as those mounted by lawyer Sittra Biabungkerd.

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