By The Nation
This new post added more questions to the mystery surrounding Surachate and further fuelled speculation regarding his fate.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as head of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), issued an order dated April 9 transferring Surachate from Royal Thai Police to become a civil servant at the Prime Minister’s Office.
According to the order, which was published in the Royal Gazette on Tuesday, Surachate is among the state officials who have been moved to other jobs because they are undergoing investigation or have problems regarding personnel. The order said the NCPO saw it fit to add Surachate to the list, but did not say why.
The NCPO order said the PM will seek Royal endorsement for Surachate’s new post.
The Cabinet “acknowledged” the order at its weekly meeting on Tuesday, deputy government spokesperson Colonel Taksada Sangkachan said.
The list of transferred state officials, to which Surachate was added, dates back to May 2015 – a year after NCPO took over through a military coup.
However, questions regarding the move remain unanswered as those involved are keeping their mouths shut. Prayut, National Police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda, and even Surachate himself refused to reveal the reason behind his sudden transfers.
Surachate was initially transferred to the Royal Thai Police's operation centre in an order issued last Friday by the National Police chief. Then in an additional order issued on Tuesday, the National Police chief said Surachate has been “removed” from all duties at the Immigration Bureau, before the PM made his move to the Prime Minister’s Office official.
Surachate, better known as “Big Joke”, was considered a rising star in the police force, attaining his general’s rank early in his mid-40s. He had the opportunity to serve some top police officers in the past, and is believed to be close to Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, who oversees the police force.