Sidelined deputy police chief gets 2nd summons to hear charges on March 26

FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2024

A second summons notice was posted at a Bangkok house of embattled deputy National Police chief Pol General Surachate Hakparn on Friday for him to hear money-laundering charges against him next Tuesday (March 26).

Surachate said on Friday that he no longer lived at the address where officers from Bangkok’s Thung Song Hong Police Station posted the summons.

The officers arrived at the house, located in a housing estate in Vibhavadi Rangsit Soi 60, at around 10.30am. The summons notice requires Surachate to hear the charges against him at the Metropolitan Police Division 2 command at 10am on March 26. It was the second time that they had posted such a notice there.

In the previous summons, Surachate was told to report himself to hear the charges on March 21, but he failed to do so.

On Friday morning, Surachate was spotted waiting to offer alms to Buddhist monks near the housing estate. He told reporters that he no longer lived at the house where the summons notice was posted.

The senior police officer refused to get photos taken, asking for privacy.

Surachate has been accused of colluding in money laundering and involvement in money laundering as a state official, in connection with an illegal gambling website.

Police will also deliver the summons to Surachate at his new office at the Prime Minister’s Office inside the Government House compound, and a copy of the notice will also be posted at his house in southern Songkhla province, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Officers from Bangkok’s Dusit Police Station will deliver the summons to Surachate at the Prime Minister’s Office, as it is located in their jurisdiction area, the source said.

Surachate has been transferred to an inactive post at the Prime Minister’s Office along with his boss, National Police chief Pol General Torsak Sukvimol, at the orders of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin issued on Wednesday.

It is rare for the two most senior police officers to be sidelined at the same time. The double transfer came after growing conflict in the Royal Thai Police amid exchange of allegations that certain high-ranking officers condoned illegal gambling networks.

The police source said on Friday that although Torsak, the suspended police chief, had earlier told his joint press conference with Surachate on Wednesday that the case would be forwarded to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), the Royal Thai Police would not be able to do so without a formal request from the NACC.

“Without a formal request from the NACC, the police officers involved could be charged with malfeasance to forward the case to the NACC prematurely,” the source said.