High-ranking police officers and their troubles with the law
From time to time, a few enforcers of the law have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. There are a few unforgettable instances of high-ranking police officers getting embroiled in cases that became national scandals and besmirched the reputation of the police force.
Here is a brief overview of some high-profile cases:
Pol General Surachate Hakparn, deputy National Police chief
Surachate, also known as "Big Joke", has twice found himself in the limelight for the wrong reasons, casting a shadow over his career.
The first time was in 2019 when he was transferred by the commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police and subsequently transferred from the police force to a civilian government official post. He was also investigated for corruption or misconduct, causing damage to government affairs and public unrest. However, he escaped unscathed and returned to the police force in 2021 as the deputy National Police chief.
Just days before the selection of the next police chief, Surachate, who was one of the contenders, found police officers visit his house on Monday with a search warrant. The warrant was secured to probe suspicion of Surachate and his subordinates being allegedly involved in illegal online gambling activities. No details of that investigation are known yet.
Pol General Wirachai Songmetta, former deputy National Police chief
Wirachai achieved success both in his professional career and in business. He was one of the richest people in Thailand. However, in 2020, he was ordered by the commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police at the time to step down from his position as deputy National Police chief. A committee was appointed to investigate a case involving leaked audio recordings. These recordings were conversations with the commissioner-general in a case related to an attempted assassination of "Big Joke”. The recordings shook the organisation's image.
But in 2021, he was reinstated in his previous position, and he pursued legal action against the commissioner-general.
Just two days after his retirement, Wirachai entered the monkhood and dropped all lawsuits.
Pol General Jumpol Manmai, former deputy National Police chief
Jumpol was once a fellow-police cadet with Thaksin Shinawatra. He was seen as a potential commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police but he fell short.
After retiring in 2011, the King through a royal command ordered him to return to civil service as a government official within the Royal Household.
In 2017, he was sentenced to six years in prison for forest encroachment and neglecting his duties. However, his sentence was reduced to three years.
He passed away from a lung infection in 2022 at the age of 72.
Pol Lt-Colonel Chalor Kerdthes, former police commissioner
Chalor was the leader of a special unit assigned to track down the culprits involved in the infamous "Blue Diamond Affair" in 1989, which was the beginning of a long period of estranged relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
Chalor later became a suspect in the murder of a mother and her child of the Srithanakhun family.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment and spent more than 19 years behind bars.
In his later years, he entered the monkhood at the age of 79.