PM denies 'Big Joke' will get active post
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has denied that Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, who was removed as Immigration Bureau commissioner in 2019, is being reinstated to an active post at the Royal Thai Police (RTP).
Instead, a source said his transfer back to the RTP might be to an inactive position.
Gen Prayut dismissed media reports that he signed a reinstatement order for the senior officer who goes by the nickname "Big Joke".
Pol Lt Gen Surachate headed the bureau until 2019, when he was suddenly shunted out of law enforcement to a civilian post of adviser at the Prime Minister's Office.
The reason for his sudden fall from grace was never explained and remains a mystery.
Pol Lt Gen Surachate filed a lawsuit against Gen Prayut last year claiming he had been transferred illegally.
At the time when he filed the lawsuit, the former police commissioner said that although it had been more than a year since he had been removed, the government had offered no explanation for why it had done so.
His transfer to the PM's Office was to facilitate an investigation into him.
On Tuesday, Gen Prayut said Pol Lt Gen Surachate's move back to the RTP was because the investigation at the PM's Office remained inconclusive and the RTP will pick up where the probe has left off.
The prime minister insisted Pol Lt Gen Surachate's return to the RTP had nothing to do with the former commissioner's lawsuit against him.
The source in the RTP said Pol Lt Gen Surachate's fate depends on what is contained in the transfer order.
If the order specified that the investigation against him should be continued, he would end up serving in an inactive post at the bureau headquarters. according to the source.