Witch hunt against ‘Big Joke’ persists: Police probe rental properties linked to top cop

Photo via ThaiRath.

The witch hunt to try and destroy the prestigious career of Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn continues after police summoned the owner of five houses rented by the Royal Thai Police (RTP) Deputy Commissioner.

Big Joke stated that the owner of the houses is a relative of his and that the relative is a businessman, not an online gambling operator.

According to Amarin TV, five houses raided by Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) officers two days ago did not belong to Big Joke. All five houses are owned by a Thai businessman known as Tam and his wife. Tam pays a community maintenance fee, estimated at 142,000 baht a year, and Amarin TV said Tam did not collect any rent from Big Joke.

Big Joke later revealed in an interview with several media outlets that the houses where he and his subordinates lived belonged to Tam. Tam is not a biological relative to him but he respected Tam as a family member. He rented two houses from Tam, one for himself and one for his father, for 50,000 baht a month. Big Joke did not explain why Tam also let his subordinates live in the other three houses.

The 53 year old Deputy Commissioner said that Tam and his lawyer would clarify details of the rent and his relationship with him to the police and would give an interview to the media very soon.

Big Joke insisted that he did not need money from online gambling as he and his family have more than enough to live on. The Deputy Commissioner revealed that he had even invested his money in this police investigation and that the amount was much more than the gambling site was making.

Big Joke also added that his wife’s mother had assets worth more than 1 billion baht. He had no motive to join the illegal business.

Many suspect that Tam might be involved in the gambling operation.

Amarin TV reporters tried to contact Tam for an interview but he refused. They also visited another house owned by Tam in Bangkok’s Thawi Watthana district yesterday, September 26, but he was not there.

Amarin TV reported that the house was rented and operated as a shipping company. The company owner revealed to the media that he had rented the house for over a year. Tam had been a business partner of his for over 20 years and he did not know much about his personal life.

The businessman said he only knew that Tam was rich and had company branches in every province in the northeastern part of Thailand. He did not know if Tam and Big Joke were related and had never met Big Joke in person.

The commander of the Legal Affairs and Litigation Bureau, Trairong Phewphan, told Sanook that officers were planning to summon Tam for questioning but did not reveal the schedule.

Despite the accusation of his involvement in online gambling, Big Joke remains one of the favoured candidates for the selection of the new RTP commissioner. The selection is scheduled to be made at 1pm today by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.


UPDATE: Big Joke caught partying with leading online gambling operator

Further suspicion has been cast on the Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police (RTP), Surachate ” Big Joke ” Hakparn, after a video recorded by a renowned Thai lawyer showed Big Joke singing with a leading online gambling operator at a party.

The former president of the Lamphun Warrior Football Club, Pongsiri “Tarn” Ratchawongsuek, and a Thai woman named Suchanan, also known as Minnie, were arrested for running online gambling websites. Following their arrest, police conducted further investigations and found that eight police officers were reportedly involved in the illegal businesses.

The eight officers have been identified as:

  • Police Major General Namkiat Teerarotjanapong
    Commander of the Training Center of the Metropolitan Police Bureau
  • Police Colonel Khemarin Pitsamai
    Commander of the Chantaburi Provincial Immigration Bureau
  • Police Colonel Parkbhum Pitsamai
    Deputy Commander of the Office of Information and Communication Technology Division 4
  • Police Colonel Arrit Kuprasitrat
    Commander of the Chachengsao Provincial Immigration Bureau
  • Police Lieutenant Colonel Karit Pariyakate
    Deputy Superintendent of Investigation Division at Samrong Nuea Police Station
  • Police Major Chanon Aumthorn
    Police bodyguard for the Deputy Commissioner of the RTP
  • Police Sergeant Nattawut Watwaew
    Commander of the Patrol Police Division 1, Supervision Department 1, Traffic Police Division
  • Police Sergeant Apisit Khonyong
    Commander of the Crime Suppression Division of the Bang Pakong Police Station

All eight police officers collaborated closely with Deputy Commissioner Big Joke, leading to the search of Big Joke’s residence and four other nearby houses belonging to his subordinates. The 53 year old deputy initially refused officers entry into his home but later permitted the Cyber ​​Police to conduct an investigation on his premises. No illegal or suspicious items were discovered in the residence.

As of now, Big Joke remains innocent, and the investigation is ongoing. While the relevant departments continue to work on the case, a viral video circulating on Thai social media has raised doubts about the deputy commissioner’s conduct.

A Twitter user, @joe_black317 , shared a video recorded yesterday by the renowned Thai lawyer Sitta “Tum” Biabangkerd. In the video, Big Joke is seen singing at a party alongside the prominent gambling operator Minnie.

Big Joke acknowledged attending the party featured in the video and clarified that it was organized for police officers in his team. At the time, he allowed his subordinates to invite their friends and family members, suggesting that someone might have invited Minnie to the gathering.

Big Joke maintained that he has no personal acquaintance with Minnie and has not had any contact with her. He added that his amiable and sociable nature might explain why people tend to approach him at such events.

Big Joke believes that there might be an internal conflict within the RTP, and these allegations are an attempt to tarnish his reputation, as reported by the BBC. He noted that he had previously apprehended numerous corrupt police officers, which could be putting pressure on certain individuals.

However, RTP Commissioner Damrongsak Kittipraphat asserted to the media that there is no internal conflict within the department. He emphasized his commitment to ensuring justice for all parties and maintained Big Joke’s innocence.


ORIGINAL STORY: Big Joke accused of being involved in an online gambling operation

Cyber ​​Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) officers raided the home of Royal Thai Police (RTP) Deputy Commissioner Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn this morning over allegations of his involvement in an online gambling operation. Big Joke denied the allegation and refused to allow officers to enter his home.

CCIB officers attempted to raid five houses owned by Big Joke in Soi Vibhawadee 60 near the Police Sports Club in Bangkok’s Lak Si district at 8am today. One of the houses is Big Joke’s home while the other four provide accommodations for members of his team.

Big Joke did not allow any officers to enter his home and the CCIB Commissioner, Worrawat Nakhonbancha, is now negotiating with his 53 year old deputy.

An arrest warrant for the Big Joke has not yet been issued. The authorities’ primary objective is to search his residence for potential evidence related to the allegations and to conduct a thorough investigation.

According to Thai PBS, Big Joke’s financial transactions were allegedly found to involve the former president of Lamphun Warrior Football Club, Pongsiri “Tarn” Ratchawongsuek . Tarn was previously arrested for operating an online gambling site called TS911.com and for money laundering through his support of the football team.

Following Tarn’s arrest, police raided several locations in the provinces of Petchaburi, Samut Prakarn, Bangkok, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Sara Buri in search of the relevant suspects. Eleven people were arrested in the raids, including two police officers from Big Joke’s team.

Big Joke is favorite to be the new RTP Commissioner, as the current Commissioner, Damrongsak Kittipraphat, will retire on Sunday, October 1. The other three candidates are the three Deputy Commissioners, including Roy Ingkapairoj, Kittirat Phanphet and Torsak Sukvimol.

The new RTP commissioner will be appointed by newly elected Prime Minister Srettha Tavisin and the selection is scheduled for Wednesday, September 27.

Big Joke has been allegedly implicated in several major cases, including the recent murder of Police Major General Siwakorn Saibua. However, the case was recently transferred to the Crime Suppression Division by RTP Commissioner Damrongsak, leading many to suspect conflict within the RTP.

Damrongsak asserted that he was transferring the Big Joke case not due to any performance issues, but to ensure the security of the investigation, citing it as a standard procedure within the RTP.

More news to follow.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.