Surachate to wrap up probe against 80 immigration police on Monday
Investigation into the case of 80 immigration police officers helping some 5,000 Chinese triad criminal gangs stay illegally in Thailand should be completed by the end of this month.
Deputy National Police chief General Surachate Hakparn said on Tuesday that the case should be wrapped up by next Monday and handed over to the top inspector general to take disciplinary action. He added that all 80 officers have been summoned to testify and that he will meet the investigation team next Monday to wrap up the case. He said the investigation is more than 90% complete.
Surachate, who is also known as Big Joke, led the Immigration Bureau until 2019 before he was suddenly transferred to the civilian post of adviser at the PM’s Office. He was reinstated to the police force in March 2021.
Last week, Surachate said that the 80 suspects, including three generals who were his former classmates from the police academy, were summoned to hear charges. The charges included malfeasance and demanding bribes.
A nationwide investigation was launched in November after former massage parlour tycoon-cum-politician Chuwit Kamolvisit provided information on alleged Chinese triads operating in Thailand.
The tip-off quickly led to an arrest warrant being issued for alleged triad kingpin Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant, a Chinese national who gained Thai citizenship by marrying a senior Thai police officer.
Surachate, who led the investigation, said officials were found to have issued student and other visas to some 3,000 Chinese nationals in the Northeast and more than 1,000 in the North from 2020-2021, allowing them to stay in Thailand and engage in illegal operations.
He confirmed on Tuesday that the three generals in question will face criminal charges for violating the Criminal Code’s Section 157 by carrying out nonfeasance and Section 149 for demanding bribes.
Once the three generals are formally charged, the investigation committee will inform the National Anti-Corruption Commission to launch a graft probe against them, he added.
He went on to say that the Immigration Bureau chief will oversee disciplinary action against the 80 officers, with no interference from the higher-ups, including the National Police chief.