General Damrongsak Kittiprapaton, on Thursday, removed the police chief in the southern province under Section 63 of the new National Police Act. The allegations against Police Major General Waesamae Salae are that not only was he working to assist drug trafficking gangs in investigations but that some were also directly under his command.
Bombshell allegations filed formally against the Provincial Police Chief of Narathiwat have led to the senior officer being suspended from duty and an investigation into disturbing findings and evidence gathered by a preliminary enquiry which suggests the senior officer was involved in drug trafficking and gun running activity while also seeking to hinder and pervert ongoing investigations into the criminal activity of gangs by his subordinate officers. The national police chief has given a high-powered team 7 days to complete their investigation while also promising the public that the operation will be transparent with disciplinary and criminal proceedings to follow.
On Thursday, October 20th, the National Police Commissioner General Damrongsak Kittiprapat signed an order under the recently passed National Police Act 2022, Section 63, removing the Head of the Provincial Police in Narathiwat, Police Major General Waesamae Salae from active duty and ordering him to report to the police operations centre at Royal Thai Police headquarters.
Police Major General Prapphon Meemongkol of Police Region 9 is to temporarily assume the duties of the suspended police officer pending a full investigation.
Move follows a complaint to police on October 5th last by a social activist supporting crime victims
The drastic move is thought to be connected to a report made by the Chairman of the Crime Victims Assistance Club, Mr Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, on October 5th last accusing the police chief in Narathiwat of corruption and assisting the perpetrators of crime including drug gangs and allegedly the killer of a serving police officer.
On Thursday, Mr Atchariya presented more detailed information to senior police officers which he claimed demonstrated that the suspended provincial police chief was working in cahoots with cross-border drug traffickers in the southern province which borders Malaysia and which is also at the heart of an Islamic insurgency.
The Crime Victims Assistance Club is a grassroots movement in Thailand, headed by Mr Atchariya, which particularly targets the drug menace in the kingdom.
Senior police chief offered to supervise cases implicating associates in the drug trade while also directing illegal drug trafficking activity himself
Earlier this month, Mr Atchariya filed a complaint through formal channels with the Royal Thai Police Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) claiming gross malfeasance by the local police commander in Narathiwat.
On Thursday, Mr Atchariya presented information and evidence to support his claims that gang members working in the province, trafficking both illicit narcotics and guns, were directly under the command of Police Major General Waesamae.
He claimed the police chief had a practice of volunteering to supervise criminal cases linked with apprehended drug traffickers and then attempted to thwart police action towards prosecution of the suspects.
Audio recording between a former Malaysian police officer and drug dealer arrested with illegal guns
Mr Atchariya presented an audio recording purporting to be a conversation between a drug dealer arrested with 33 guns and a known cross-border drug dealer who was formerly an officer in the Malaysian police force.
Golden Triangle drugs threat aired in parliament, claims of senior police officers being involved in trafficking
Mr Atchariya told investigators that the Malaysian man had been responsible for abducting a Malaysian businessman in Laos and was a distributor of crystal methamphetamine.
In another incident, it is alleged that the provincial police boss removed vital evidence as to the identity of a suspect, the guilty party, in a case involving the murder of a serving police officer.
Region 9 police task force set up to investigate the initial report against the Narathiwat police chief
It is understood that, following the reports, a police task force from within the Region 9 command of the Royal Thai Police was set up to look into the claims.
After announcing the suspension of the senior officer on Thursday the National Police Commissioner, General Damrongsak, is reported to be assembling another fact-finding team to go to Narathiwat and review the findings in this case.
He promised that police would act to ensure there was transparency concerning the matter.
The national police chief wanted more substantial information on the allegations and has ordered that the probe be widened also.
Tip-off line opened to the public 24 hours
In this regard, General Damrongsak has opened up public lines for the public or any interested party to report their suspicions or any information that may be useful as the new investigative team goes to work.
The public can make reports via Facebook or anonymously on telephone lines 191 and 1599 which are open 24 hours a day.
The police commissioner, General Damrongsak, has put a time limit on these activities of 7 days and promised that both disciplinary and criminal proceedings will follow relating to the matter.