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Thailand’s Highest-Profile Policeman Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn Sidelined to Inactive Post

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Highest profile policeman, Immigration Chief, Pol. Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn a rising star in the Royal Thai Police has been abruptly transferred to an inactive post, according to an order released Saturday.

The transfer, ordered by Police Commander Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda, said Lt. Gen. Surachate Hakparn aka “Big Joke” was transferred to the Operation Center of the National Police Office. The order specified neither his new duties nor the reason for the transfer.

The document, issued by police commander Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda

Pol Lt Gen Surachate’s Facebook page “Surachate Hakparn”, his Twitter account @hakparn and the Immigration Bureau Facebook page were offline as of Saturday afternoon.

According to the Bangkok Post Pol Lt Gen Surachate, is known to be very close to Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Prawit Wongsuwon and has been a rising star in the force in recent years.

He’s rarely been out of the headlines, placing himself front and center at the scene of high-profile cases involving everything from immigration violators to illegal motorcycle racers, as well as computer crime cases involving another unit that he heads.

The son of a policeman, Surachate was born in 1970 in Songkhla. After joining the force, he quickly rose through the ranks to command a local station and later moved to Bangkok to head the 191 task force. From there he moved to the tourist police before landing the top job at the Immigration Bureau last year.

He’s also came into the international spotlight over a number of recent high-profile immigration cases including when he reversed a deportation order against Rahaf al-Qunun, a young Saudi woman who arived in Thailand fleeing alledged abuse by her family. And also the case of the Bahraini-born Australian Hakeem al-Araibi who had been detained by Thai police in an international tug of war between Australia and Bahrain.