TUESDAY, April 16, 2024
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Pol Gen ‘Big Joke’ Surachate faces arrest for evading summonses

Pol Gen ‘Big Joke’ Surachate faces arrest for evading summonses

The Criminal Court has approved the issuance of an arrest warrant for National Deputy Police Chief Pol Gen Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn after evading three summonses in a gambling-website case.

In the investigation of police officials involved in the online gambling website BNKMaster, attempts were made to summon Surachate, also known as "Big Joke”, deputy commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, after financial-transaction data linked him to the aforementioned network.

The third summons, scheduled for April 1, 2024, was issued for Surachate to acknowledge the allegations.

However, Surachate did not appear to give a statement or acknowledge the allegations to the investigating team in any way.

Pol Gen ‘Big Joke’ Surachate faces arrest for evading summonses

On Tuesday at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road, investigators from the Metropolitan Police Bureau presented a petition to issue an arrest warrant for "Big Joke" on charges of conspiracy, money-laundering, and being a co-conspirator in money-laundering, as per the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

At 4pm, the court reviewed the petition and granted permission to issue an arrest warrant for Surachate.

Pol Gen ‘Big Joke’ Surachate faces arrest for evading summonses

The court reasoned as follows:

There is credible evidence from primary witnesses indicating wrongdoing.

The suspect has exhibited evasive behaviour towards summonses from the investigative team.

This case falls under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court.

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 "Big Tor" Sukvimol chose to have Surachate summoned for interrogation.

But Surachate was not at home on March 17, thus did not receive the first summons.

On March 20, Srettha Thavisin issued orders to transfer "Big Tor" and "Big Joke" to Office of the Prime Minister.

On March 22, the police summoned Surachate for the second time, but he was on vacation and did not receive the summons.

The issuance of the second summons reflects ongoing internal conflicts within the police force, despite announcements of reconciliation for "Big Tor" and "Big Joke" made on March 20.

Shortly after the issuance of the second summons, a well-known lawyer, who is perceived to be close to Surachate, announced financial connections to the online gambling websites BNKMaster and VENUS Master, linking them to "Big Tor" and his family members.

On March 27, the police issued the final summons, scheduled for April 1, 2024. However, Surachate’s legal team confirmed that he had not received any summons up to that point.

After the Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant, Surachate met with the investigating team at 5.30pm.

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