Big Joke leads petition to oust NACC over corruption claims

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Thailand’s suspended Deputy National Police Chief, Police General Surachet Hakparn, known as Big Joke, initiated a campaign in Pattaya to gather signatures for the removal of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

The event, held yesterday at the J A Plus Hotel, aimed to address accusations of corruption, unexplained wealth, and severe ethical breaches against the NACC.

Big Joke highlighted the historical significance of this petition, marking the first time in Thai history that such an action has been taken against an independent organisation under Article 236 of the Constitution. He announced plans to submit the petition to the House Speaker, who would then refer the case to the courts for the appointment of an independent committee to investigate the NACC.

By yesterday, Big Joke had already gathered over 13,000 signatures and expressed confidence that the petition would soon reach the required 20,000 signatures.

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“This is not politically motivated, nor is it an act of revenge for the NACC’s bribery investigation against me.”

The NACC had previously decided to investigate allegations against Big Joke and four other police officers, reported Pattaya News.

The accusations revolve around claims that they accepted bribes from a gambling website.

UPDATE: Big Joke and suspended officers summoned by Thai Police

A disciplinary investigation panel from the Royal Thai Police (RTP) announced its intentions to issue a summons for five of their officers, including the currently suspended Deputy National Police Chief, Surachate “Big Joke”Hakparn.

The announcement, made by Deputy National Chief Sarawut Kanpanich, comes in light of a serious disciplinary violation accusation linked to the BNK Master gambling website.

The investigation was initiated on April 18, the same day Big Joke’s suspension was implemented, with Sarawut assigned as the panel’s chair by acting National Police Chief Kitrat Panphet.

Following the panel’s first meeting, Sarawut stated that the accused officers, including Big Joke, would be summoned to meet them on May 7.

This date is in accordance with the Audit and Monitoring Committees of Police Administration Regulations on Probe and Investigation, which mandates that acknowledgement of such a summons has to occur 15 days post the establishment of the panel.

While the accused officers can defer their summons if required, any postponement cannot exceed the 270-day deadline stipulated by the regulations, clarified Sarawut.

In response to Big Joke’s attempt to initiate a separate investigation against one of the 14-panel members due to a claimed personal conflict, Sarawut said the decision rests with the acting national police chief regarding the member’s qualifications.

Meanwhile, Big Joke indicated that he had ordered one of his subordinates to clear out his office at the RTP and return his government-assigned car a day after his suspension was issued.

In addition, Big Joke revealed plans to register for the senatorial election, expressing his desire to continue working for the public’s benefit as much as possible.

ORIGINAL STORY: Acting police chief suspends Big Joke over gambling links

The acting national police chief has signed a suspension order for Deputy Chief Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn and four other subordinates over their alleged involvement with an online gambling network, as per a source close to the matter.

The directive, which was enforced immediately yesterday, April 18, was signed by Pol. Gen. Kitrat Panphet. In addition to Big Joke, the order also targeted Pol. Col. Kittichai Sangkhathaworn, Deputy Police Commander of Songkhla province; Pol. Lt. Col. Krit Pariyaket, Deputy Chief of the Phra Samut Chedi Police Station in Samut Prakan; and traffic patrol policemen Pol. Sgt. Natthawut Wadwaew and Pol. Sgt. Natthanan Chuchak.

The five are believed to be complicit in money-laundering activities tied to the BNK Master gambling network. The order was issued on the back of a disciplinary investigation, and courts have already approved arrest warrants for the suspected individuals, according to the source.

The decision was discussed by Pol. Gen. Kitrat with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin at the Government House following a Cabinet meeting yesterday morning. The affected individuals hold the right to challenge the order.

On March 20, the prime minister reassigned Big Joke and National Police Chief Torsak Sukvimol to inactive posts, installing Pol. Gen. Kitrat as the acting chief in their stead. The two senior officers, who were at the centre of the controversy, had been embroiled in a public feud over alleged associations with unlawful gambling networks.

On April 2, Big Joke voluntarily presented himself to the police to respond to money-laundering charges levelled against him, mere hours after investigators secured an arrest warrant. He was later granted bail.

A recent revelation from a committee set up by the prime minister to probe the scandal indicated that there were valid grounds for the claim that Big Joke was implicated in money laundering.

Pol. Gen. Kitrat Panphet assumed the role of acting national police chief last month when Prime Minister Srettha reassigned Pol. Gen. Torsak Sukvimol, the previous chief, and Big Joke to inactive posts in the PM’s Office pending a thorough investigation into allegations against both men, reported Bangkok Post.

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Top is a multifaceted news writer with a keen interest in real estate and travel. Top currently covers local Thai news at Thaiger. As a travel buff, Top blogs about his travels- around the world and Thailand- during his free time.

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