Panel gives nod to Thaksin's rank removal
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Panel gives nod to Thaksin's rank removal

A joint panel resolved to strip ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra of his police lieutenant colonel rank, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya said Tuesday.

The decision was made after a two-hour meeting of a joint committee made up of justice ministry officials, police and members of the Council of State, the government's legal arm. 

The move to strip Thaksin's rank came after the former prime minister gave an interview in Seoul on May 20 alleging privy councillors had masterminded the coup last year.

Gen Paiboon said the meeting mainly discussed a contentious legal issue of whether a policeman can be stripped of his rank when he was no longer in office. 

The meeting concluded that the removal could be made because the Royal Thai Police Office’s 2004 regulations on deprivation of police ranks stated that both active and former police officer could be stripped of his rank.  

He said the same issue had been raised in 2001 and members of the Council of State already explained and confirmed to the police that the move was legal.   

A total of 636 active and ex-policemen also had their ranks deprived between 2009 and 2011, Gen Paiboon said, adding the same regulation should also apply to Thaksin.   

Previously, a committee led by Royal Thai Police adviser Chaiya Siri-ampankul resolved to support the revocation of Thaksin's rank after the former prime minister absconded from his criminal trial on the Ratchada land case in 2008. 

But national police chief Somyot Poompunmuang rejected Pol Gen Chaiya panel’s resolutions twice, citing incomplete reports. 

Gen Paiboon said, however, Pol Gen Somyot would have to take further steps in stripping Thaksin of his rank because this was the police's internal affair and he had no authority to order the national police chief.

The joint panel would submit its findings to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

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