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Thailand Police Chief and Deputy Suspended Amid Allegations of illegal Online Gambling Links

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Thailand Police Chief and Deputy Suspended Amid Allegations of illegal Online Gambling Links

(CTN News) – Earlier this week, under the order of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Thailand’s national police chief and one of his deputies were temporarily suspended.

Allegations of Illegal Online Gambling Connections

This was a response to allegations that one of his deputies was involved in an illegal online gambling ring that raised concerns about a power struggle within the police department.

There was a temporary move in the Office of the Prime Minister, which directs the police department, in which Torsak Sukvimol, who was appointed to the top police post in October last year, and Surachate Hakparn, one of his deputy chiefs, have been moved temporarily to inactive posts.

According to Surachate, he has been accused of being connected to illegal online gambling sites, an accusation he denies.

The police raided Surachate’s home in Bangkok in September last year in connection with the bust of a major illegal online gambling network that the police said was linked to Surachate’s business. Eight of Surachate’s subordinates were arrested on the day of the raid over the case.

Surachate was one of the frontrunners to be named the next national police chief at the time of the raid, and Torsak was named shortly after.

There’s a lot of internal politicking in Thailand’s national police, as well as a long history of corruption at all levels.

Prime Minister said on Wednesday the transfer order was effective right away, and he’s forming a special committee to look into it. He said he’d lift the suspension orders after 60 days. The orders weren’t meant to punish, but to make sure an investigation could go without interference, said Srettha.

They held a news conference together hours before reports of the transfers came out, denying any rift between them.

After money trails linked Surachate to bank accounts used by online gambling websites, Jaroonkiat Pankaew, the deputy chief of the Central Investigation Bureau, said last month that he was accused of abuse of power and bribery. Surachate isn’t yet arrested or charged with money laundering, but investigators will try to get him.

Surachate has denied any wrongdoing, saying the accusations were to discredit him and accusing other top-ranking police of taking money from gambling operators.

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