Big Joke dismissed over alleged gambling ties

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Police Commission members voted unanimously yesterday to support the acting national police chief’s order to dismiss Police General Surachate Hakparn, better known as Big Joke, as deputy chief over alleged ties to an online gambling network.

The 12-member panel, chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, spent three hours deliberating before reaching their decision.

Big Joke, a prominent figure known for his self-promotion, recently faced allegations that he and four subordinates were involved in money laundering for the BNK Master gambling network. The 53 year old has denied these allegations, claiming rivals within the force fabricated them to impede his path to becoming police chief.

The dismissal order, issued in April and signed by deputy national police chief Kitrat Phanphet, followed the transfer of Big Joke and National Police Chief Torsak Sukvimol to the Prime Minister’s Office, a move aimed at resolving internal conflicts within the force.

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Police General Winai Thongsong, a former deputy chief and commission member, asserted yesterday that the decision by Kitrat was lawful and supported by the police disciplinary committee.

Big Joke threatened on Monday to file a malfeasance complaint against the prime minister if the dismissal order was not revoked. He filed a defamation lawsuit on Tuesday with the Bangkok South Criminal Court against a police general who allegedly implicated him in online gambling following an arrest warrant issued for him.

Winai responded that he is not worried as he can present evidence through the judicial process.

“I believe this was an attempt to silence and disqualify individuals from voting in the meeting to determine whether to revoke Big Joke’s dismissal.”

In addition to the Big Joke case, commission members reviewed a complaint against PM Srettha over last year’s appointment of Torsak as national police chief, alleging he did not meet the necessary criteria.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), noted that the NACC had previously requested detailed information from the Police Commission’s secretary. However, the explanation was vague and did not clarify whether Torsak met the criteria.

Given the lack of detailed information, the commission agreed to continue investigating whether sufficient performance details were presented during the selection process, reported Bangkok Post.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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