No joke: Surachate is back with all his rights intact

No joke: Surachate is back with all his rights intact

Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn gestures during an interview with the Bangkok Post in January last year. (File photo)
Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn gestures during an interview with the Bangkok Post in January last year. (File photo)

Pol Lt Gen Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn, who was removed as Immigration Bureau (IB) commissioner in 2019, has been officially reappointed to the Royal Thai Police (RTP).

RTP spokesman Pol Maj Gen Yingyos Thepjamnong confirmed on Wednesday the transfer order had been signed last Friday by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as chairman of the Police Commission (PC) in charge of manpower reallocation.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate is now regarded as being back in the police force, although his precise post has not been been decided.

He headed the IB until 2019, when he was suddenly shunted out of law enforcement to a civilian post of adviser at the Prime Minister's Office, where he faced a probe. No explanation was given as to why he was booted out of the bureau and what had spurred the investigation. The former commissioner cried foul over what he called was an illegal transfer and filed a lawsuit against Gen Prayut.

Pol Maj Gen Yingyos said the RTP's manpower division was yesterday still processing Pol Lt Gen Surachate's transfer and it required final consideration by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk.

"What's clear at this point in time is that Pol Lt Gen Surachate is officially back in the police force," he said.

An RTP source said Pol Lt Gen Surachate was entitled to retain his present rank and be reinstated to the last position he held before the transfer, which was IB commissioner.

He is also qualified for promotion to assistant national police chief.

Gen Prayut said on Tuesday the transfer was linked to the inquiry into Pol Lt Gen Surachate that began at the PM's Office.

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