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The big comeback for Big Joke?

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The big comeback for Big Joke? | Thaiger

Former police poster boy and Thai immigration Chief, Surachat Hakparn, aka. “Big Joke” says he wants to return to police duties and “come back in from the cold”.. He participated in 2 hours of prayers at the Wat Bueng Kradan in Phitsanulok city in Central Thailand, praying for a return to his roles in the Thai police force.

At the height of his fame he was “Maj. Gen. Surachat Hakparn, Immigration Chief”. Having political leaders like Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan on his side, he seemed to have his rise to the top of Thailand’s police force assured. He appeared at every major drug bust, anytime errant foreigners were rounded up he’d be there too. He was the hot tip to take over the top job of the Thai police force.

Surachat was in the news just about every other day during 2017 and 2018 and then in April 2019 he was abruptly sidelined from police duties to a desk job at Police HQ in Bangkok. Not long after he took an extended overseas trip.

Then, after he’d quietly returned earlier this year, came the bizarre shooting of his car, a white Lexus, parked out the front of a massage shop in Silom. Surachet was allegedly getting a massage in the spa when the two suspects fired at his car in a drive-by. The two were captured on CCTV but were both wearing full-face helmets making ID impossible.

The former Thai immigration denied that the incident, where gunshots were fired into his car, was a staged stunt. He addressed a media scrum, a situation he’d been in before many times, speculating that the shooting incident was linked to the Immigration Bureau’s controversial procurement procedures for its biometrics and smart car projects.

In a written statement, whilst still heading up the immigration police in 2019, Surachat urged national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda to consider cancelling the projects. The projects, together worth 2 billion baht and which have since gone ahead, involved the purchase of biometric equipment to scan faces and fingerprints of passengers at Thailand’s six major airports. At the time Surachat cited long delays and questioned the equipment’s efficacy as reasons for wanting to cancel the project.

Clearly he’d stepped on some very big toes.

Surachat says the incident neither intimidated him nor dissuaded him from talking to the anti-graft agency about his claims of mis-steps in the procurement processes of the Immigration ID equipment. At the time he warned the national police chief Chakthip to take responsibility if police could not find the men who shot at his car.

And that, was that.

Since then Surachat has laid low and been largely silent after the government publicly warned him not to bring “disgrace” to the bureaucracy (apparently they can achieve that perfectly well without him).

Back at the temple yesterday, Surachate prayed to various Buddha images as well as statues of King Naresuan, King Ekathotsarot, and Lady Suphankanlaya. He also released birds, fish, and turtles at the temple to make merit.

There has been no comment from police officials about any return to the police force of the former pin-up boy and gang-buster.

The big comeback for Big Joke? | News by Thaiger

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Crime

Immigration police arrest Frenchman on drug charges, 3 other foreigners for overstay

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Immigration police arrest Frenchman on drug charges, 3 other foreigners for overstay | Thaiger

Immigration police arrested a French man who was allegedly involved in a crime network who allegedly smuggled cannabis, and arrested 3 other foreigners on overstay charges. Police say the crime network sold cannabis to foreigners living in tourist cities in Thailand.

Officers say they suspect there are more people involved in the alleged smuggling operation on the Eastern seaboard, which includes Chon Buri and Rayong. Police are now launching an investigation.

Police were tipped off earlier this year about an alleged French gang selling cannabis to tourists. Apparently, the drug suspects would rent rooms to store the cannabis and frequently change locations. Foreigners had rented a room off a soi in Bangkok, but the manager noticed they were acting suspicious. No one appeared to actually be living in the room and people would stop by the room for less than an hour, the manager told police.

Police arrested a man who was stopping by the room. Officers say the 28 year old, identified as Samy, had a suitcase filled with dried cannabis and scales. He faces charges for possession and distribution of a Category 5 narcotic.

The police went to the man’s apartment in the Charoen Nakhon area and arrested 2 French nationals, ages 27 and 28, and a 29 year old woman from the UK for overstaying their visas. Police say they had thrown cannabis and smoking equipment out the window before officers entered the room.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Thailand hoping to be upgraded to a Tier 1 nation in anti-human trafficking efforts

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Thailand hoping to be upgraded to a Tier 1 nation in anti-human trafficking efforts | Thaiger
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Thailand is hoping its newest anti-human trafficking report will earn an upgrade from the US from Tier 2 to Tier 1. The report was submitted to the Washington’s Trafficking in Persons Report. Deputy government spokeswoman, Rachada Dhnadirek, said the government is ready to be upgraded after remaining on Tier 2 for 3 years in a row. Those nations who fall on the Tier 2, are deemed to not be fully complying with the minimum standards set out in the US’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Those on the Tier 2, however, are supposed to be making efforts to comply with the minimum standards.

Before 2018, Thailand was placed in Tier 3, which is for nations who don’t fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making efforts to do so. Then, Thailand was upgraded to Tier 2 after making progress compared to the previous year.

Rachada says Thailand submitted the 2020 TIP Report on February 2 and a report on progress in its anti-human trafficking operations from January to March of this year to the US embassy on April 3. The data includes the number of arrests and punishments for human-trafficking offences. Thailand also has created a new plan, making it the first in Asia to introduce such a plan. That plan is called the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.

Rachada says now Thailand is processing human trafficking cases more quickly by shortening the investigation time to 70 days as of last year. In 2015, the investigation time was 118 days. She says the country has also set up centres to help LGBT human-trafficking victims as well as helping migrant workers with work-related issues.

Thailand has also introduced the PROTECT-U app for smartphones in which human-trafficking victims can access protection and launch complaints in 7 different languages. The app was developed by the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Phuket man shot by off-duty police officer now paralysed

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Phuket man shot by off-duty police officer now paralysed | Thaiger
Phuket Police Station / Google Maps

A 25 year old Phuket man who was allegedly beaten and shot by an off-duty, drunken police officer, will never walk again as he remains paralysed in the hospital. The news, according to doctors at Vachira Phuket Hospital, comes after Aroon Thongplab, was shot from a close range, with the bullet hitting his spine.

The man was a noodle vendor and was collecting a bowl from a customer on Bangla Road when he was allegedly shot by Pornthep Channarong of the Phuket Provincial Police at around 6am. Doctors told his wife about his prognosis after he woke up from a coma and underwent surgery to increase his prospects of being able to sit up. His wife, who is only known by her surname as Kulthida, told The Phuket News that she received news that he would never walk again.

“He cannot feel or move the lower part from his waist. Doctors just gave him spine surgery last week, so that he can sit. However, the doctors cannot assure that the surgery will work. We have to wait to see if his recovery goes well along with physiotherapy.”

Pornthep was discharged from the Royal Thai Police less than a day after he allegedly shot the noodle vendor. Now, he is facing charges of attempted murder, firing a weapon in a public area, and carrying a firearm in a public area without a necessary reason. But those charges have come slowly, according to Kulthida.

“I have already asked Patong Police, and they told me that at this stage the report to file (with the public prosecutor) is about 90% complete. I am also waiting for a notice from the court. Today, officers from Region 8 Police came to the hospital to question Aroon, but he has not been able to speak… I asked them about the bail conditions, and they told me that the suspect is still in jail.”

The Phuket Provincial Court is allowing Pornthep to go out on bail, despite the Royal Thai Police asking the court to keep in locked up.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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