Terrifying police corruption scandal unveiled. Lawyer’s shocking claims rock Thailand. Well-known lawyer Sittra Biabungkerd has alleged rampant corruption within the Royal Thai Police, implicating high-ranking officers. Allegations suggest an alternative police network generating hundreds of millions monthly from crime. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is now facing mounting pressure for decisive action as public alarm grows but declines to act.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin refuses to take further decisive action after groundbreaking revelations emerged from crusading lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd. The claims by the lawyer, if substantiated, would mean a need for a root and branch cleanout of the Royal Thai Police. In short, the disturbing claims suggest an alternative police network within the force dedicated to generating monthly income from corruption. Mr Sittra claims that the network generates ฿100 million a month from criminal activities across the kingdom ranging from sex drugs to illegal cigarettes and of course, illegal gambling. Indeed, the disturbing nature of the allegations by Mr Sittra has, according to reports, already led to National Police Chief General Torsak Sukwimol moving to institute defamation proceedings. 

On Thursday, crusading lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd (centre left) met with Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) deputy chief Police Major General Charoonkiat Pankaew (centre right). He handed him damning information relating to illegal online gambling corruption linked with senior police officers. Mr Sittra gave the police 30 days to act on the information. In turn, he promised there is a lot more to come. In the meantime, he has threatened to take the matter to the opposition parties if Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin continues in his refusal to act on what he claims is genuine evidence of widespread corruption within the police force.

Revelations by an activist lawyer this week of wholesale corruption within the Royal Thai Police is putting pressure on Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

On Tuesday, another groundbreaking press conference exposed a vast corruption network. In brief, this is alleged to be operating in parallel with the operations of the Royal Thai Police nationwide.

The exposé was delivered by Mr Sittra Biebangkerd, a well-known anti-corruption campaigner and justice activist within the kingdom.

Popular and maverick lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd is no stranger to controversy and run-ins with the police. However, he is an anti-corruption crusader

Certainly, Mr Sittra is known in the past to be unafraid of taking on rogue elements within the police. In addition, he is no stranger to controversy.

In 2020, the lawyer was arrested on foot of a warrant issued by Minburi Criminal Court. He was taken in by police for questioning.

At that time, Mr Sittra claimed the move against him was linked to his defence of a client. This was in a drug case brought against well-known Thai actress Amelia ‘Amy’ Jacobs.

Furthermore, he is thought to be a friend of General Surachate Hakparn, the under-fire deputy police chief.

The lawyer, over the course of most of the last decade, was a constant thorn in the side of the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan Ocha. Similarly, he has fought against police corruption and injustice wherever he found it. 

Mr Sittra has insisted he is not acting on anyone’s behalf in this matter. His motivation is to seek the greater public good and help root out corruption

Before this week’s press conference, he made it clear to the media that was not acting on anyone’s behalf.

In short, this was taken to mean General Surachate. At the same time, he revealed that he had warned his family of the potential consequences of his decision to spill the beans.

A family man, Mr Sittra is currently the Secretary-General of the People’s Lawyers Foundation. Previously, in 2016 he established the People’s Lawyer Team for Youth and Society Foundation.

Undoubtedly, he is a highly influential figure in Thailand with millions of social media followers. He is additionally known affectionately as ‘Lawyer Tum’.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, his stunning revelations sent a shiver through the spine of the Royal Thai Police and its senior ranks.

In short, the crusading lawyer presented compelling evidence of widespread bribery and corruption. Corruption on an organised, systematic basis.

Thailand organised by alleged shadow police mafia into 5 regions. The North, Northeast, Central, South and East. The evidence is compelling and genuine

For instance, Lawyer Tum revealed that a huge police corruption network is divided into five regions in Thailand. In short, he claimed it involved many police officers and high-ranking commanders. 

At length, on Tuesday, his evidence was contained in three folders. In turn, Mr Sittra has described the evidence he has acquired as compelling and genuine. Consequently, he is confident in his position

Therefore, on Thursday, he presented an envelope to Police Major General Charoonkiat Pankaew, deputy chief of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB).

In truth, that information allegedly implicated numerous officers. They form part of what Sittra describes as large-scale corruption linked to the online gambling sector.

The documents provided by Sittra contained chat records, money transfer slips, and bank statements. Undoubtedly, they paint a damning portrait of systemic corruption within the ranks of the Thai police.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Sittra emphasised the seriousness of the allegations. ‘The recipients of the money included many police officers and a high-ranking commander,’ he explained.

Lawyer accuses police chief General Torsak Sukwimol

On Wednesday, he went further and linked the now sidelined police chief General Torsak Sukwimol with the corruption network. 

The activist lawyer also cited officers close to the police chief.

In one transaction, he highlighted an alleged ฿200,000 payment from a ‘mule’ account to a monastery made by the police boss. In addition, this was similar to payments made to General Torsaks’s family and relations.

Immediately and robustly, General Torsak refuted the allegations. 

The police chief promised to immediately launch defamation proceedings against the lawyer. 

Acting police chief suggested that the force’s legal department would review Mr Sittra’s revelations. General Kittirat said he would be held accountable

Before that, on Tuesday, at Royal Thai Police Headquarters, the acting police chief, Police Major General Kittirat Phanphet, pointed out that Mr Sittra was free to exercise his rights.

However, he warned he may also be held accountable. The police chief promised the legal department of the Royal Thai Police would review the claims made.

Similarly, Mr Sittra has also become entangled with the Thai Journalists Association. Previously, he has claimed a former Vice President was being paid by the police corruption network.

In turn, the association has met Mr Siitra but the lawyer has not readily identified the officer. At the same time, he pointed out this activity was a personal affiliation. It was not linked to the media representative organisation.

Nevertheless, the association is not satisfied while it insisted it would welcome further investigation into the matter.

Lawyer Sittra hints at further revelations and allows 30 days after presenting information on police corruption to the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB)

Mr Sittra has refrained from filing a formal complaint against individual officers at this stage. However, this may change. 

Significantly, the lawyer has announced his intention to give the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) 30 days to conduct an investigation.

He asserts that he will closely monitor the progress of the investigation. Afterwards, he will decide on his next course of action accordingly.

It’s worth noting that none of the evidence presented by Mr Sittra implicates Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn in any wrongdoing.

However, tensions between rival factions exist.

There are officers loyal to Police General Surachate and similarly to Police General Torsak Sukvimol, the current national police chief.

In truth, this rivalry is at the core of this conflict and may also be poisoning the well of information.

Undeniably, however, there are indications of massive corruption within the police force.

Prime Minister promised to resolve a conflict between officers on Thursday. However, he did not address the mounting allegations of widespread corruption

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has already intervened. 

On Thursday, he expressed his commitment to resolving the conflict between high-ranking police officers embroiled in the bribery scandal. His comments were linked to the BNK Master gambling website case.

Nevertheless, these new and even more disturbing claims highlight widespread and endemic police corruption within the force. 

Following another groundbreaking press conference on Tuesday, March 19th given by lawyers for General Surachate Hakparn, the prime minister transferred both Police General Torsak and Deputy Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn to inactive posts.

Big Joke survives an alleged effort to discredit him. PM appoints temporary police chief and enquiry panel 

In short, pending a thorough investigation by a three-member panel. This includes a former police deputy chief and a Ministry of the Interior senior official.

Scale and depth of corruption now being suggested would in other jurisdictions see the police force disbanded and a new organisation reformed in its place

Nevertheless, the frequency and scale of the allegations being made regarding corruption within the police force may make senior officials pause for thought.

Indeed, the scale of corruption being hinted at would, in other jurisdictions, see the force disbanded and a new reformed force created.

The consequences for the kingdom are vast with the rule of law in Thailand being questioned.

In short, there is no scope here for a whitewash. This is more than a bitter rivalry between two senior policemen.

In the meantime, despite mounting pressure, Police General Surachate has failed to positively respond to efforts to summon him on money-laundering charges.

These are related to the BNK Master online gambling network charges.

In turn, his lawyers claim the process is a crude attempt to discredit him. 

General Surachate’s lawyers claim the case pursued against him seeks to thwart him from reaching the top of the force because of his anti-corruption zeal

Indeed, his lawyers openly claim it is a concerted effort to prevent him from assuming leadership of the Royal Thai Police.

The job is open again in September 2024. The top cop lost out last year after a mysterious raid on his home in Bangkok.

Big Joke’s police career on the brink as police chief threatens to suspend the high profile top cop from job
Big Joke’s career suffers another setback as Torsak gets top job after Police Commission meeting

Certainly, prior to these allegations against him, General Surachate was seen in a positive light. He was seen as a police officer with a zeal for fighting corruption or malpractice within the force.

Investigators have issued a third notice for his appearance. Presently an arrest warrant looming for the deputy police cheif. Undoubtedly so, it would appear if he fails to comply upon his return to Thailand from a reported trip to the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Mr Sittra is feeding the information of alleged corruption, in stages.

Sittra says there is no evidence against General Surachate

Significantly, his meeting with Police Major General Charoonkiat Pankaew was arranged by phone call at the same time as his press conference on Tuesday.

In brief, this senior officer is the deputy chief of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB).

In the sealed envelope Mr Sittra handed over was information implicating a large number of senior officers, some at the highest level.

Significantly, Mr Sittra singled out National Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn. He insisted there was no evidence of wrongdoing against the country’s most popular police officer.

After receiving the submission, Police Major General Charoonkiat indicated he would pass it on to the Anti-Corruption Division Police. A response will be had within 30 days. 

At the same time, he explained that it would not be sent to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). In effect, this was because there was no specific complaint of bribery or corruption.

PM kicks to touch on new earth-shattering revelations. Srettha points to his panel of inquiry into allegations linked to the BNK Master gambling network

Meanwhile, in response, on Thursday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin did not sound like a man stung into action by the latest exposé.

Certainly, since taking decisive measures on Wednesday, March 20th, the PM’s mood has changed. 

Presently, he is underlining the need to refocus activities within the Royal Thai Police away from the scandal.

In essence, it was the same message as reporters grilled him at Government House on Thursday.

‘As I said, I will not comment on anything concerning this issue any more. Because I believe in our legal system which is transparent and verifiable,’ Mr Srettha told them.

Moreover, he was adamant that the three-member panel established by him ‘will find the truth’. 

Nonetheless, the fear for the PM is that circumstances and events threaten to overtake his efforts to restore order. At the same time, the government leader was resolute.

‘I believe every procedure is taking the right turn. The two high-profile police have been transferred to inactive posts at the PM’s Office. This can ensure transparency in the justice system,’ he concluded.

Sittra warns Prime Minister Srettha that if robust action is not taken, he will bring his evidence and campaign to the opposition. Time to act on corruption

Meanwhile, the man behind the latest revelations, Mr Sittra, had a message for Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

He revealed there were further details of the case. Therefore he urged the premier to take decisive action against corrupt officers in the Royal Thai Police. 

Otherwise, he vowed to pursue alternative avenues, including petitioning opposition parties. This would come to pass if Mr Srettha fails to take decisive action.

In the meantime, in response to Sittra’s allegations, Police General Torsak is reported to be taking steps to file a defamation suit. This is now expected.

Indeed, on Wednesday, General Surachate, in addition, asked media sources to tamp down speculation over these activities.

At the same time, he also threatened criminal action against reporters if they failed to heed his warning.

The senior policeman emphasised his ancillary roles in policing and community affairs.

In short, he said he intended to pursue these while on secondment to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Meanwhile, General Surachate is still being pursued by Bangkok-based police who are increasingly threatening to have him arrested over the BNK Master case

Notwithstanding this, he did acknowledge that he was being pursued by a criminal charge. This is linked to an investigation being handled by Tao Poon Police Station in Bangkok.

In the meantime, during the week, lawyers for General Surachate have reached out to the Metropolitan Police Bureau and even the Administrative Court to have the legal proceeding against him handed over to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

In short, this is what was promised by General Torsak Sukwimol, the temporarily suspended police chief. This was on March 20th 2024. It was the day the pair met the Prime Minister and were relieved of active duties for 60 days.

On Wednesday, the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau ordered the transfer of officers accused of handling two accounts allegedly tied to Police General Torsak. 

Two officers in the Cyber Crime police suspended

The suspensions were ordered by Police Lieutenant General Worawat Watnakornbancha, the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) at headquarters in Muang Thong Thani outside Bangkok.

The officers were identified as Police Senior Sergeant Major Apichat Suwanphet and Police Lieutenant Colonel Surakul Thansiridamrong.

Police Lieutenant General Worawat said he had ordered the move after the allegations were made. This was to allow a transparent probe.

The senior commander said all police must, at times, expect to be under investigation themselves. He confirmed he had not spoken to the officers about the allegations.

The unfolding scandal has captivated the nation, with calls for transparency and accountability across Thai society. 

The revelations speak of massive links with criminality paying tribute to top police officers.

The activities concerned include links to illegal massage or sauna shops. According to Mr Sittra, they reach into smuggling activities, illegal cigarette networks, casual markets as well as the abuse of the immigration laws for foreign workers.

Massive, indeed terrifying claims of corruption within the Royal Thai Police. A shadow organisation generating ฿100 million a month in revenues from crime

In addition, they are linked to sex drugs, live sex shows, the distribution of snooker tables at the same time, of course, illegal gambling sites and dens.

The money involved is vast.

On the 25th of each month over ฿100 million reaches appointed bank accounts. In turn, this is distributed to a network of corrupt officers within the force. There is even an unofficial headquarters for this alleged alternative organisation.

With Thailand divided into five regions, the northeastern, northern, central, southern and western, this is organised corruption. The allegations unquestionably suggest this is an orchestrated mafia operating within the police. Mr Sittra or Lawyer Tum revealed, for instance, that the eastern provinces are the most lucrative.

In short, the Royal Thai Police now finds itself engulfed in an unprecedented crisis of confidence.

The frequency and scale of the corruption allegations can no longer be ignored. Nor can they be sidelined.

It is still only a matter of days since allegations against over 30 police officers were made at another press conference. That brought decisive action from the Prime Minister.

The scale of these latest corruption allegations is unprecedented. Certainly, now is the moment to strike in Thailand’s fight against corruption.

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