‘Big Joke’ fights suspension
text size

‘Big Joke’ fights suspension

Sidelined deputy chief facing money-laundering charges says police rivals are plotting against him

Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn arrives at Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo supplied)
Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn arrives at Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo supplied)

Sidelined deputy police chief Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn went to police headquarters on Thursday to appeal against his suspension and vowed to take legal action against any opponents who try to block him from becoming the next national police chief.

Pol Gen Surachate, wearing a suit and tie instead of his uniform, said he had sent his complaints to the Police Commission and an ethics committee of the Royal Thai Police.

He said the order by acting national chief Kitrat Panphet was illegitimate because the rules state that a suspension must be proposed by relevant investigators first. But in his case, he said, the investigation committee was formed on the same day he was suspended.

He said he also planned to file complaints with the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases against Pol Gen Kitrat, other commissioners and commanders who, he alleged, were involved in a movement to suspend him from the force.

Those involved in the movement, he said, had raised allegations that he was involved in laundering money from online gambling businesses. The allegations and his suspension were intended to block him from promotion to police chief in October.

Pol Gen Surachate, 53, said he was now the most senior candidate for the top job. He was also seen as a contender for the chief’s post last year but it went instead to Pol Gen Torsak, whose brother is the head of the Crown Property Bureau. The two men and their supporters have been feuding ever since.

Last month Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin shifted the two men to inactive posts in the Prime Minister’s Office and named Pol Gen Kitrat as the acting chief.

Pol Gen Surachate claimed that the person who wants to be the new chief talked the prime minister into transferring him back to the Royal Thai Police office from the PM’s Office, so that he could face the suspension order.

He emphasised that pending the outcome of an investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, he remained innocent and was thus the most senior deputy national chief.

Pol Gen Surachate reported to police on April 2 to answer charges of money laundering. He was subsequently released on bail.

Acting national police chief Pol Gen Kitrat Panphet ordered the suspension of Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn pending the outcome of investigations into money-laundering charges against him.

Do you like the content of this article?