MONDAY, April 15, 2024

Surachate suspects police hand in trying to defame him with gambling case

Surachate suspects police hand in trying to defame him with gambling case

Deputy National Police chief Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn believes that two complaints he is facing over an alleged gambling case were part of a conspiracy by other police to defame him.

In response to an unconfirmed leaked report that the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau had summoned him over his financial link to the gambling case, Surachate said on Friday that the action was “intended to defame him for the long-term”.

On Thursday, Pol Maj-General Jaroonkiat Pankaew filed a complaint with the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), accusing the outspoken senior police officer and his five subordinates of breaching sections 157 and 149 of the Penal Code. Section 157 prohibits officials from dishonestly exercising or omitting to exercise their authority while the latter concerns bribe issues.

Jaroonkiat, who is the deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, said that Surachate is financially linked to an online gambling website run by Suchanun Suchitninsri, better known as "Minnie".

Surachate strongly denied all the allegations but said he does not know if his subordinates were involved in the case.

“There are many senior police officials in the Royal Thai Police who earn as much as 100 million baht from online gambling websites via their mule account. Why wasn't any action taken? Why was it specially directed towards me?” he asked.

He urged other police “not to be jealous”, saying police should compete with each other on work.

He also revealed that he had taken legal action against over 200 officials, of whom two were currently serving as police generals, over the issue.

The deputy chief reiterated that so far, he was still innocent and that the two complaints needed to be first accepted by the NACC. The investigation process needs to be taken before the case is concluded, he said.

Meanwhile, Jaroonkiat explained that after NACC decides on the matter, the police will convene a committee to determine if Surachate's case qualifies as a serious offence, which would result in his expulsion from the force.

Jaroonkiat said he believed Surachate had committed a serious offence.

Speculations were rife that the complaints against “Big Joke” were a conspiracy to ensure he did not become the next police chief as he was considered one of the favourites.