SUNDAY, April 21, 2024

Ongoing row prompts Srettha to transfer ‘Big Tor’, ‘Big Joke’ to inactive posts

Ongoing row prompts Srettha to transfer ‘Big Tor’, ‘Big Joke’ to inactive posts

A dispute within the Royal Thai Police (RTP) bureau has resulted in two high-ranking officers being transferred to inactive posts in the Prime Minister’s Office for 60 days.

Transfer orders for National Police chief Pol General Torsak “Big Tor” Sukvimol and his deputy Pol General Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn were issued after they met Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Wednesday.

Deputy RTP chief Pol General Kittirat “Big Tai” Phanphet will likely become caretaker National Police chief.

Srettha said that though he felt “uneasy” about ordering the transfers, they were necessary because he did not want Torsak and Surachate to interfere in the probe into allegations of bribe and money laundering the latter faces.

After the transfer, the two senior police officers called a press conference to say they would leave the investigation in the hands of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and not interfere.

“We have never had a conflict with one another and from now on, if there’s a dispute [in RTP], it does not stem from us,” the duo said.

In February, Pol Maj-General Jaroonkiat Pankaew filed a complaint with the NACC, accusing Surachate of abusing his authority as well as being involved in bribe-taking and money laundering related to an online gambling site run by a woman called “Minnie”.

Jaroonkiat, the deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, had declared that he believed Surachate committed a serious offence, and would end up being expelled from the police force.

In response, the outspoken senior officer has consistently denied these allegations, claiming instead that the gambling group had presented a big sum of money to a senior police officer whose name begins with the Thai alphabet “tor tao”. This statement then sparked speculation that Surachate was referring to his boss Torsak.