'Big Joke' tipped to be immigration chief

'Big Joke' tipped to be immigration chief

Pol Maj Gen Surachate 'Big Joke' Hakparn was approved Thursday to become the next chief of the Immigration Bureau, with an automatic promotion to the three-star rank of lieutenant-general. (File photos)
Pol Maj Gen Surachate 'Big Joke' Hakparn was approved Thursday to become the next chief of the Immigration Bureau, with an automatic promotion to the three-star rank of lieutenant-general. (File photos)

Deputy tourist police chief Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn is tipped to become the new Immigration Bureau (IB) commissioner in the upcoming annual police reshuffle.

The Police Service Commission held a meeting Thursda to deliberate the reshuffle list involving officers in positions ranging from commanders to deputy commissioners general. The two-hour meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, linked by the public to Pol Maj Gen Surachate and his rapid career rises.

A source at the meeting said Pol Maj Gen Surachate would be promoted to IB chief, a position which holds the rank of police lieutenant general.

He would replace Pol Lt Gen Sutthiphong Wongpin, who is tipped to be made the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) commissioner.

Sutthiphong: Expected to be city police chief

National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, speaking after the meeting, said those attending had decided on promoting Pol Maj Gen Surachate due to his achievements. Pol Gen Chakthip, however, refused to disclose the new position of Pol Maj Gen Surachate as it was pending royal endorsement.

He said this year's reshuffle involves 255 positions. At present, the most senior officers in the Royal Thai Police are members of Classes 35 and 36 of the Royal Police Cadet Academy, he noted.

For those who are to be promoted to become bureau commissioners, they do not need to have worked for that bureau before, the police chief said.

Police lieutenant generals deal with management work and they can use their knowledge and expertise to work in any bureau, Pol Gen Chakthip noted.

Pol Maj Gen Surachate has recently been involved in controversies surrounding rape claims on Koh Tao in his current post as deputy tourist police chief.

He was earlier tipped to be made commissioner of the MPB or the Tourist Police Bureau.

The 48-year-old officer from Songkhla is a member of the RPCA's Class 47.

He rose through the ranks to become acting commander of the Office of the Commissioner General, in charge of policy coordination with the prime minister.

He was later made deputy commander of the Patrol and Special Operation Division and then chief of the Office of the Commissioner-General.

He was subsequently made commander of the Tourist Police Division and the Patrol and Special Operations Division.

Last month, Pol Maj Gen Surachate was named assistant spokesman for Gen Prawit. A source familiar with the matter revealed Pol Maj Gen Surachate retains strong ties with the deputy premier.

In the reshuffle list presented at the meeting, the source said Pol Lt Gen Chaiwat Ketworachai, an assistant national police chief, would be made a deputy commissioner general. He is from the same RPCA Class 36 as Pol Gen Chakthip.

The five new assistants to the police chief are: Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 3; Pol Lt Gen Suwat Chaengyodsuk, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 1; Pol Lt Gen Roy Ingpairoj, commissioner of the Police Education Bureau; Pol Lt Gen Piya Uthayo, chief of the RPCA; as well as Pol Lt Gen Thawitchart Palasak, chief of Provincial Police Region 6.

Meanwhile, Central Investigation Bureau deputy commissioner Pol Maj Gen Sutin Suppuang is tipped to become the new bureau chief.

Crime Suppression Division deputy commander Pol Col Jiraphob Phooridej is in line to be made division chief.

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