BANGKOK – Thailand’s Board of Royal Thai Police on Friday (Aug 14) selected deputy police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda as the country’s new Police Chief.
He will replace the outgoing Chief Pol Gen Somyot Pumpunmuang who will retire at the end of September.
According to reports, the six-member board unanimously voted to choose Pol Gen Chakthip as the next chief in a closed door meeting inside the compound of the Army’s 1st Infantry Regiment in Bangkok.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, who is the chairman of the Royal Thai Police Board, was absent from the meeting, leaving Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, the vice chairman, to chair the meeting.
Pol Gen Chakthip, 56, is the least senior of all five deputy police chiefs who were candidates for the post, but has a good reputation as a detective.
He also has close ties with key military officers, after graduating from Class 20 of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School, the training round for both policemen and soldiers.
The other candidate, Deputy Police Chief Pol Gen Ek Angsananond, did not attend the Armed Forces pre-cadet school and is tipped to be promoted to a top civilian civil service post after September.
Most importantly, Pol Gen Chakthip has good relationship with Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, who is seen as the kingmaker of this coup government and his main supporter.
Pol Gen Chakthip, who will retire in 2020, will have four years to oversee the reform of the police force initiated by this government.
The role of Prawit in the Police Chief’s appointment is seen as a precursor to the selection of the next Army Chief.
The favourites for that post are Gen. Teerachai Nakwanich, believed to be favoured by Prawit, and Gen. Preecha Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister’s brother.
The armed forces will officially submit the complete military reshuffle list to the government on Aug 15.