Big Joke still laughing: Royal Thai Police delay investigation

Picture courtesy of Thairath

Police General Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, the Deputy National Police Chief, remains in his position as the Royal Thai Police (RTP) has yet to form a committee to investigate the allegations against him, according to the acting National Police Chief, Police General Kitrat Panphet.

“Strict procedures have to be followed.”

Two issues require consideration. Firstly, an investigation into the allegations against Big Joke, which reportedly involves money laundering associated with the online gambling site, BNK Master. Secondly, a disciplinary charge that necessitates a committee review.

Big Joke surrendered to the police to face charges on Tuesday evening, following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the Criminal Court. After being released on bail, he declared his innocence to the media.

At present, the 53 year old is serving in an inactive post, following orders from Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who also sidelined National Police Chief Torsak Sukvimol. Both senior officers have been embroiled in a longstanding feud, with public accusations regarding their involvement in illegal gambling networks being exchanged.

Before suspending Big Joke, several processes need to be adhered to, stated Pol. Gen. Kitrat. He must first receive a case summary from Metropolitan Police investigators as well as Big Joke’s arrest file, which he claims to not have received yet.

Additionally, the Disciplinary Division of the Royal Thai Police needs to review the reports and summarise its findings for Pol. Gen. Kitrat’s consideration.

Should the Disciplinary Division find grounds for further proceedings, the acting national police chief will establish a panel to allow the accused an opportunity to prove his innocence, said Pol. Gen. Kitrat.

“During the committee’s investigation process, Pol. Gen. Surachate will neither be suspended nor dismissed.”

Pol. Gen. Kitrat added such a process will be initiated if the committee discovers grounds for it.

“As of now, Pol. Gen. Surachate is permitted to perform his duties as usual.”

He also pointed out that regulations mandate the police panel to conclude its investigation within 60 days. This time limit can be extended upon request, reported Bangkok Post.

In the meantime, yesterday, lawyer and activist Sittra Biabungkerd provided information regarding financial transactions connected to illegal businesses involving three police officers, including Pol. Gen. Torsak, to Move Forward Party leader Chaithawat Tulathon. The lawyer also shared this information with the Police Complaint Review Board.

Bangkok NewsCrime NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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