Big Joke’s shock as a Bangkok court issues an arrest warrant for the top police officer. The crisis continues to pummel the Thai police force. Stand by as we update this story. At 5.30 pm General Surachate surrendered himself to police investigators at Tao Poon Police Station.

An arrest warrant has been issued by a Bangkok court for Big Joke or General Surachate Hakparn, the country’s most well-known police officer. In brief, he later surrendered to police leading a money laundering probe in which he is implicated. It comes a day after a police complaint was filed against sidelined National Police Commissioner General Torsak Sukwimol. It is yet another development amid a massive crisis of confidence in the Royal Thai Police. The arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday afternoon. It comes after an ongoing cat-and-mouse game since March 17th last when officers from Tao Poon Police Station in Bangkok first tried to serve a police summons on the deputy chief at his home in Bangkok.

General Surachate Hakparn surrendered to an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon. This is the latest twist in an extremely damaging scandal which has exposed deep-seated corruption, infighting and dysfunction within the Royal Thai Police.

Thailand’s Criminal Court on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn. However, within an hour, the deputy chief surrendered himself.

The news came after a protracted hearing on Tuesday at the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek Road in Bangkok.

The application was made by the Metropolitan Police Bureau. It referenced charges of money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 1999, Sections 5,9 and 10.

Intense and repeated representation to courts, Metropolitan Police Bureau and Tao Poon Police Station in Bangkok over the last week by Big Joke’s lawyers

It followed intense and repeated representations by lawyers acting on behalf of the under-fire senior police officer.

These were made in the last week both to the court and on Monday, to officers at Tao Poon Police Station in Bangkok. 

In short, the police station since March 17th has repeatedly tried to serve a summons on the deputy police chief.

At length, a court hearing at the start of the month when an arrest warrant was denied.

It came after an initial hearing before the court on Tuesday. Afterwards, Police Major General Tinnakorn Rangmat, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, came to the court in support of the arrest warrant application.

Lawyers for General Surachate Hakparn argue that the case should be handed over to the anti-corruption agency.

In short, they insist it is a reprised version of an earlier case. This was taken up by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) at the beginning of March.

Big Joke denies any link with criminality

General Surachate vehemently denies any links to the gambling website BNK Master.

Significantly, his lawyers openly link this prosecution to ongoing attempts to discredit him. It is understood the charges are related to an alleged conspiracy.

In addition, there are certain financial transactions linked with the illegal gambling website.

Certainly, lawyers from General Surachate have consistently asserted no direct financial links to the illegal gambling site.

Despite this, the officers handling cases have doggedly persisted in their efforts to have the deputy chief brought to book.

On Monday, high-profile lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd filed a criminal complaint against sidelined National Police Chief General Torsak Sukwimol at the same police station. 

Criminal complaint filed at the same police station in Bangkok on Monday by lawyer against now-suspended National Police Chief, General Torsak Sukwimol

Presently, Mr Sittra or lawyer Tum alleges that the police chief and others are linked to rampant corruption within the force. In addition, he lodged over 75 pages of financial information to support his complaint.

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Previously, the court had ordered the arrest of certain police officers and a civilian in connection with this case.

Police under orders to arrest General Surachate whenever he is found said the deputy police chief at Tao Poon Police Station heading the BNK Master probe

General Surachate is being charged with collusion in relation to money laundering of ฿300 million. On Tuesday, the court, after listening to police submissions, ruled that there was enough evidence to support an arrest warrant.

In addition, it ruled that it had the appropriate authority to do so.

On Monday, it was reported that General Surachate had made representations to the chief justice of the Criminal Court.

The arrest warrant was confirmed on Tuesday at 4.40 pm by Police Lieutenant Colonel Sarawut Buddee. Police Lieutenant Colonel Sarawut is in charge of the BNK Master probe at Tao Poon Police Station. He is the deputy chief of investigations at the Bangkok police station.

He told reporters that General Surachate would be arrested immediately wherever police locate him and taken into custody.

Big Joke surrenders to police at Tao Poon Police Station

Later at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, Police General Surachate surrendered. At length, he arrived at Tao Poon Police Station in a Toyota Alphard, registration No. Kor 51, Songkhla. The deputy chief’s vehicle was parked in front of the station.

Afterwards, the vehicle moved to park behind Tao Poon Police Station.

On emerging, General Surachate asked for cooperation from reporters in refraining from taking pictures. After that, it was reported  General Surachate joined investigators on the 2nd floor.

More details on this breaking news story to follow.

Big Joke released on bail. Emerged to speak briefly to reporters at 8 pm. Top cop appeared at ease, relaxed
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Further reading:

Unprecedented crisis for the Royal Thai Police as Srettha baulks despite lawyer’s damning claims of corruption

Bangkok police still targeting Big Joke over BNK Master website case. Arrest warrant considered

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

Big Joke’s police career on the brink as police chief threatens to suspend the high profile top cop from job

Top cop Big Joke fights for his name as summons rumours swirl around him over gambling site network

Top cop Big Joke’s career suffers setback as Torsak gets top job after Police Commission meeting