Torsak appointed as Thailand's next National Police chief
A meeting of the Police Commission on Wednesday appointed Pol General Torsak Sukwimol as Thailand’s new commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police (RTP).
Chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, the meeting at the RTP headquarters in Bangkok included 66 items on the agenda. The most eagerly awaited decision was the appointment of the next police chief to succeed Pol General Damrongsak Kittiprapas, who will retire by the end of September.
Around 1pm, there were reports that the meeting had been put off, but at 4pm it was confirmed that the meeting had taken place and the new police chief had been chosen. The meeting had been rescheduled from last month to Wednesday.
After the meeting, Pol General Achayan Kraithong, the RTP spokesman, told the press that he was not in a position to disclose more details as the appointment was still in process.
However, according to sources, Pol General Torsak received a 9-2 majority vote to hand him the post. The premier reportedly abstained from voting.
Torsak was one of four candidates in the running for the top position, along with Pol General Roy Ingkhapairoj, Pol General Kitirat Phanphet, and Pol General Surachate Hakparn, or “Big Joke”.
Torsak was the only contender who had not attended the police academy as he earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Thammasat University prior to enrolling in Class 4 for training to become a police captain.
Torsak will be at the helm for only a year, as he is set to retire next year.
Shortly before the appointment, up to eight police officers who were Pol General Surachate's subordinates were transferred for alleged involvement in online gambling. Several observers believe that this move stemmed from conflict inside the police force to discredit Surachate, as evidenced by raids on his houses.
Surachate said that he believed the raids on the six houses he owns were motivated by politics within the police force, adding, “I won’t seek revenge, but I have a lot of details that, if revealed, can put the entire Royal Thai Police Bureau under fire.”
Surachate was absent from Wednesday’s meeting.
Since 1998, Thailand has had 14 police chiefs. They include Somyot Poompanmoung, the current president of the Football Association of Thailand, and Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, the leader of the Seri Ruam Thai party.