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Thailand’s Top Police Officers Benched Over Power Struggle

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Thailand's Top Police Officers Benched Over Power Struggle

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has temporarily suspended the national police chief and a senior deputy after allegations that his deputy chief was involved in an illicit online gambling network, raising fears about a power struggle inside the police department.

Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, who was appointed to the top police position in October last year, and Deputy Police Gen Chief Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn were temporarily transferred to inactive positions in the Prime Minister’s Office, which is directly responsible for the police department.

Pol Gen Surachate has been allegedly suspected of having connections to illegal online gambling operations, which he unequivocally denies.

According to the Bangkok Post, Pol Gen Surachate’s Bangkok residence was raided in September of last year over a huge illicit online gambling network. On the day of the raid, eight of Surachate’s subordinates were detained for the case.

Surachate was regarded as one of the frontrunners for the position of new national police chief at the time of the raid. Torsak was named to the position days after the raid.

Thailand’s national police force has a history of strong internal politics and a long-standing reputation for corruption at all levels.

The prime minister announced on Wednesday that the transfer order is effective immediately and that he has formed a special committee to investigate the incident. He added that he will consider lifting the suspension orders after 60 days. Srettha stated that the directives were not intended as punishment but to ensure that an inquiry could proceed without intervention.

Torsak and Surachate were summoned to the Prime Minister’s Office hours before word of the transfers broke. They later held a joint press conference, rejecting any personal feud between them.

According to Jaroonkiat Pankaew, the Central Investigation Bureau deputy chief, Surachate was charged with abuse of power and bribery after money trails linked him to bank accounts used by online gambling firms. He also stated that detectives would seek a money laundering allegation against Surachate, who has yet to be apprehended or formally accused.

Pol Gen Surachate, through his lawyers, has unequivocally denied any wrongdoing, claiming the claims were manufactured to defame him and accused other high-ranking police officials of accepting money from casino operators.

Prime Minister Urges Unity within the Police Force

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Srettha presided over a meeting of senior police commanders nationwide at the Royal Thai Police headquarters. He was greeted by acting National Police Chief Pol General Kittrat Panphet, whom the PM appointed following the interim suspension of Pol General Torsak Sukvimol.

“I ask for unity among all of you.” I believe the Royal Thai Police are aware of the ongoing issue. You have feelings for some coworkers and subordinates, but you should keep them to yourselves. “We should work better for the public interest,” the prime minister told the police officers.

He stated that his fact-finding committee would investigate pertinent cases and resolve the situation through the court system.

“I’m not siding with anyone. We should prioritize serving the public. “That way, the Royal Thai Police can do its job with dignity,” he stated.

It’s unusual for the two most senior police officers to be sidelined at the same time. The double transfers came amid escalating tensions in the police department, including allegations that certain high-ranking officers encouraged illegal gambling networks.

The prime minister also instructed the participating top police officers to increase their efforts in dealing with matters he felt had not been addressed adequately. These issues include illegal lending, contraband smuggling, illicit drugs, illegal gambling, illegal firearms and war weapons, forest fires, and illegal tourism operations.

Following the meeting, Srettha informed reporters that Torsak and Surachate should be considered innocent. He stated that the police force’s battle should be finished and that the police should now focus on narcotics and illegal online gambling.

“Now that the two implicated have been transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office, it is time for the justice system to do its job. I want to ensure that both sides are treated fairly,” the Prime Minister remarked.

He agreed it was a difficult decision to transfer both police generals. “But I needed to do it to bring clarity to the society,” he said.


The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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