Chuvit: Duang move "conflict of interest"

Chuvit: Duang move "conflict of interest"

Outspoken MP Chuvit Kamolvisit on Sunday branded the transfer of Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung's youngest son Duang, who was once discharged but reinstated as an army lieutenant, to a new position in the Metropolitan Police Bureau as a "conflict of interest" and an insult to society.

The Royal Thai Police Office on Friday approved a request from army Lt Duang to transfer him from the position of platoon leader of a military police company under the Support Services Department, to the position of police lieutenant and deputy inspector of the bureau’s training centre, effective from Aug 1.

Chalerm and Duang Yubamrung embrace at 2006 ceremony at which Duang received a doctorate in law from Ramkhamhaeng University. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Mr Chalerm said the transfer was not nepotism and his son never discussed it with him and that he had acted on his own. He said a shooting instructor at the Royal Police Cadet Academy Sampran in Nakhon Pathom province had asked Lt Duang to work with him. This was completely normal because his son was a sharp shooter with 100 per cent shooting accuracy and 16 certificates.

Mr Chuvit said the transfer had caused a public sensation and may involve a conflict of interest because one of Mr Chalerm’s duties was supervising the Royal Thai Police Office.

It was suspicious that the transfer procedure took only 17 days, which was very quick, and Mr Chalerm’s claim about his son’s certificates would not wash, he said.  

The Rak Thailand Party leader said the approval of the transfer was an insult to society and Mr Chalerm was a “hopeless” politician. He would ask the House committee on police affairs to look into whether the transfer was illegal when parliament reconvenes on Wednesday.

Mr Chuvit said he wanted to ask national police chief Priewpan Damapong why he had allowed a person who was once implicated in the murder of a police officer to work in the police force and why the son of the slain officer had not been given a job in the agency.

The former massage parlour tycoon questioned whether Lt Duang's past record should be considered infamous conduct.

He said Lt Duang should have been sent to the London 2012 Olympic Games instead if he really had a 100 percent shooting accuracy record.

Lt Duang, formerly Duangchalerm, was dismissed from the military after the fatal shooting of a police officer during a brawl in Club 20 on Ratchadapisek Road in October 2001.

He fled to Malaysia to escape arrest and was stripped of his rank after a military inquiry found him guilty of disregarding an order to report to work for 15 days and for avoiding a criminal investigation.

He gave himself up in May 2002 and went to court. He was acquitted by the Criminal Court on the grounds of insufficient evidence and conflicting accounts.

In April 2008, then-prime minister Samak Sundaravej, who was serving concurrently as defence minister, approved Mr Duang's application to rejoin the military. His reinstatement was reportedly pushed through by Mr Chalerm, who then served as Interior Minister.

On Friday, Lt Duang called on opponents of his father not to politicalise his transfer issue and insisted it had nothing to do with his father.

“I am a grown-up and do not want my dad to get involved in this. I had not discussed it with him before submitting my transfer request. I once told him about the idea but that was a very long time ago,” Lt Duang said. 

"I studied law, so I think I would be more suited for police work and also be more useful."

According to 2004 police committee regulations on qualifications and the characters of those who are to serve in the police force, they must not have record of infamous conduct or ethical defects.

Mr Chuvit said as far as he was concerned, Lt Duang fled from the army for six months and gave himself up in Malaysia to fight a murder charge in court.

He had also been given a six-month suspended prison sentence for his involvement in a brawl.

Mr Chuvit also cited another regulation which stipulated that all superiors who are to approve transfer requests from other government officials outside the police force are bound to compare the petitioners’ knowledge, experience and expertise with those of their subordinates in their agency first.

“Where are the Arintarat [police SWAT team] and the Naresuan Task Force [a counter-terrorism unit]? Don’t they have anyone better than Lt Duang?,” Mr Chuvit said.

Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Kamronwit Thoopkrachang, who approved Lt Duang’s transfer request, insisted the transfer was in line with all regulations and his shooting skills were needed by the police force.

After Lt Duang’s transfer, he will serve as a shooting instructor at the Royal Police Cadet Academy Sampran. 

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