‘Big Joke’ not at home to receive summons over money laundering charges

SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2024

National deputy police chief Pol General Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn was served with a summons to appear in court on Thursday to face money laundering charges.

However, Surachate, who was not at home when the police officers arrived, said he had not seen the summons and hence could not formally acknowledge it.

Investigators from the Metropolitan Police Division 2 have alleged that Surachate along with three other police officers and a civilian collaborated to launder money for a gambling website, BNKmaster, which was busted last year.

After the Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for the three other cops and civilians implicated in the case, National Police chief Pol General Torsak Sukvimol chose to have Surachate summoned for interrogation.

Since Surachate’s home in a housing estate on Soi Vibhavadi 60 falls under the jurisdiction of Thung Song Hong Police Station, it was ordered to serve the summons.

The officers were also instructed to post the summons on the house's main door if Surachate was not at home.

When the policemen arrived at the housing estate at 10.20am on Sunday, they were stopped from entering. When they declared they were there to serve Surachate with a summons, the guard demanded to see the document first.

When told the summons was confidential, the guard called his boss for advice and was told not to let the officers in if they refused to show him the summons.

When told by police that the guard and his boss could face charges of obstructing state officials, the man at the gate called his boss again. The guard’s boss then spoke to the police team’s chief before the officers were allowed to enter the housing estate.

The entire negotiation took some 20 minutes, and eventually, the security guard hopped on a motorcycle to escort the two police pickup trucks to Surachate’s house.

The team then spent about half an hour at Surachate’s home before leaving the housing estate. No reporters were allowed to follow the police team into the estate.

In a phone call with The Nation later, Surachate said that he was not home and his aides could not accept the summons on his behalf.

He added that he will return home on Tuesday and will then consider whether the investigation against him is lawful and whether he should acknowledge the summons.

He also said that he would have his lawyer hold a press conference on the issue on Tuesday.

Earlier, Surachate’s lawyers claimed that investigators had come up with these money laundering charges because they wanted to discredit him before the annual police reshuffle comes up. Surachate is first in line for the top job in terms of seniority.