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Big Joke vs Srettha: Deputy police chief vows to return

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Deputy Police Chief Police General Surachate Hakparn, aka Big Joke, issued an ultimatum to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. He threatened to file a malfeasance complaint against the PM if he failed to revoke the order temporarily dismissing him from the force.

Big Joke revealed he had already appealed to the Police Virtue Protection Committee and petitioned the prime minister, who chairs the Police Commission, to review the contentious order.

“If Srettha ignores this issue, I will lodge a complaint for negligence of duty.”

The dismissal, deemed illegitimate by the Council of State, was initially issued in April by Deputy National Police Chief Kitrat Phanphet. Kitrat, appointed acting police chief following the transfer of Big Joke and Police General Torsak Sukvimol on March 20, aimed to quell the internal police feud.

A police source indicated that the Police Commission is set to meet tomorrow, June 26, with the Thai premier expected to preside, to determine the legality of Big Joke’s dismissal. The outcome could hinge on the Police Virtue Protection Committee, often regarded as the police force’s Administrative Court.

Criticising the prime minister’s leadership, Big Joke urged the Bangkok-born PM to assert his authority and resolve the ongoing conflict, which threatens to undermine public confidence in the police.

Big Joke announced plans to file a malfeasance complaint against Torsak, recently reinstated as national police chief, if he fails to revoke the dismissal order. Additionally, Big Joke intends to bring a complaint against Kitrat to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), alleging that the dismissal was not properly reviewed by the fact-finding committee.

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Kitrat, meanwhile, maintained that the dismissal was thoroughly considered and confirmed that Big Joke’s appeal is under review. Kitrat dismissed speculation about his potential rise to national police chief, laughing off rumours of succession, reported Bangkok Post.

UPDATE: Torsak Sukvimol reinstated as National Police Chief

Police General Torsak Sukvimol has resumed his role as National Police Chief following an investigation into a prominent internal conflict, as announced by Wissanu Krea-ngam, an advisor to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

Wissanu disclosed the results of the investigation, which was initiated by the prime minister through a fact-finding committee led by Chatchai Promlert. The inquiry scrutinised the discord between Torsak and his deputy, Surachate Hakparn, better known as Big Joke.

The four-month investigation unveiled widespread conflicts and disorder within the Royal Thai Police (RTP). However, it remains uncertain whether these issues originated from a single source or multiple factors. Torsak and Big Joke were implicated, with their respective teams contributing to the discord.

The investigation concentrated on four major cases, from recent conflicts to those dating back a decade. The findings have been forwarded to various agencies, such as the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), prosecutors, and courts.

“Some conflicts were recent, while others dated back 10 years.”

Big Joke was reinstated as Deputy National Police Chief on April 18 after being transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office on March 20. An established disciplinary committee investigated Big Joke, leading to a temporary suspension from the police force.

“Since there were no further issues to investigate Torsak, it was agreed to reinstate him.”

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On March 20, the Thai prime minister unexpectedly transferred both senior police officials to the Prime Minister’s Office, aiming to address the escalating rift within the police force. Deputy National Police Chief Kitrat Panphet was appointed as acting police chief.

Reports are suggesting that Big Joke might face charges related to money laundering in connection with online gambling networks, reported Bangkok Post.

ORIGINAL STORY: PM Srettha’s review: Torsak may return as police chief

The results of an investigation into conflicts among senior police officials have been submitted to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, recommending that Torsak Sukwimol could return to his position as National Police Chief, while Surachate Hakparn aka Big Joke remains under review.

PM Srettha received a report from the Fact-Finding and Legal Examination Committee, chaired by Chatchai Promlert, concerning publicised conflicts within the Royal Thai Police (RTP). The investigation focused on Torsak, the current national police chief, and Big Joke, the former deputy national police chief. This comprehensive inquiry spanned over two months, thoroughly examining the issues.

The committee, after completing its investigation, assigned Wissanu Krea-ngam, an advisor to the prime minister, to announce the findings. Wissanu is scheduled to disclose the details of the investigation tomorrow at 11am at the Naree Samosorn Building in Government House.

Reports indicate the committee scrutinised multiple aspects of the conflict, which had escalated across various levels within the RTP, significantly impacting public perception and trust. Torsak and Big Joke faced allegations involving civil, criminal, and disciplinary matters. The committee delineated these issues clearly for the prime minister’s consideration.

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“The investigation confirmed the existence of conflicts at multiple levels within the police force, affecting its image and public confidence significantly.”

Rumours suggest that Torsak might resume his role as national police chief before his retirement in October next year, as the investigation did not establish any conclusive wrongdoing on his part. The allegations regarding hiding property in the United Kingdom are still under review by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Big Joke, however, remains in a state of uncertainty. He cannot return to service yet, pending further investigation by the Police Civil Service Protection Committee (PCSPC). The outcome of this committee’s findings will determine his future within the force, reported KhaoSod.

“The committee has meticulously separated the allegations against both individuals for the prime minister’s clear assessment.”

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