The newly appointed national police chief, Police Genera; Torsak Sukvimol, sought clarification from deputy national police chief Police General Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, following a police search of the latter’s residence earlier this week.
Pol. Gen. Torsak addressed inquiries after a photo of him shaking hands with Big Joke gained attention on social media yesterday.
Reports in the media suggested that Big Joke privately met Pol. Gen. Torsak to congratulate him on his recent appointment, succeeding the retiring Pol. Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas.
The incoming police chief stated that he contacted Big Joke after Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin voiced concerns that the week’s events might negatively impact the reputation of the Royal Thai Police (RTP).
Rumours circulated that the police search at Big Joke’s home was an attempt to tarnish his reputation ahead of the new police chief’s appointment on September 27. Both Pol. Gen. Torsak and Big Joke were candidates for the role.
Pol. Gen. Torsak firmly denied involvement in the search of Big Joke’s residence, maintaining that there is no personal conflict between them and that they are in discussions about the future of the police force.
“I was completely unaware of the house search, which is why I had to speak to him to clarify that attempts were being made to set us against each other during the nomination process.”
Pol. Gen. Torsak confirmed that the circulating photo was taken after their meeting.
In related news, political activist and ex-senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana requested that the Office of the Ombudsman seek intervention from the Administrative Court concerning the new police chief’s appointment.
Ruangkrai’s petition is based on objections by Pol. Gen. Ake Angsananont, a former deputy national police chief who voted against Pol. Gen. Torsak’s nomination. During the meeting, PM Srettha, who is the ex-officio chairman of the Police Commission under the RTP, proposed Pol. Gen. Torsak for the top police role. The attendees selected Pol. Gen. Torsak by a vote of 10 to 1.
Pol. Gen. Ake dissented, arguing that the appointment did not comply with regulations. Ruangkrai expressed similar sentiments, which led to his pursuit of a court ruling on the appointment, Bangkok Post reported.
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