SUNDAY, April 21, 2024

Big Joke’s aide ready to give up police post to fight gambling allegations as civilian

Big Joke’s aide ready to give up police post to fight gambling allegations as civilian

A close aide of deputy National Police chief Pol General Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, has written a personal letter to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin asking to be released from government service.

In his letter, Pol Colonel Phakphum Phitsamai said he wanted to give up his government job so he could fight the allegations against him and ensure the investigation was conducted transparently.

Phakphum, who is deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 4’s Investigation Division, is among eight individuals being investigated for alleged involvement in online gambling websites believed to be linked to Suchanun "Minnie" Sucharitchinsri, an influential figure in Loei province.

The case is being handled by the police’s Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Phakphum said he wanted to fight the allegation as a civilian, “without using his power to threaten anyone”. He went on to say that he was willing to leave his 32 years of service to prevent any impact on the public and the police bureau.

Phakphum said he had written the letter at the Royal Thai Police’s Operation Centre and had submitted it to Srettha on February 12.

He said he wrote to Srettha because he “wants to seek justice from the prime minister, who is the police commander-in-chief, chair of the Royal Thai Police Board and a person with no conflict of interest". Phakphum insisted that he respected the justice system, the prosecutors and the court, and had no intention of causing damages to any individual or agencies. He maintained his belief that the legal investigation process used against a government official should be the same as that used on a civilian with full transparency maintained.

On February 10, local media reported that two senior prosecutors were seeking protection and wanted permission to suspend their role in the case as they claimed to be threatened by a team of police suspects.

Two senior public prosecutors attached to the Office of the Attorney General reportedly submitted a petition dated February 2 to deputy National Police chief Pol General Thana Chuwong, who is overseeing the investigation.

The prosecutors said Phakphum and his associates had lodged a complaint against two of them regarding their role in assisting the investigation, attaching photos of them taken without their knowledge. They said in the petition that the action could be deemed as “a form of intimidation against the lives of prosecutors and their family members”.