‘Big Joke’ seeks 10-day delay in money laundering case. Bangkok police station handles cases against him and the police chief amid intense scrutiny. It follows a complaint filed by lawyer-activist Sittra Biebangkerd there against the police chief General Torsak Sukwimol.

A lawyer for suspended Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn, on Wednesday, asked for a 10-day extension to submit his defence testimony in the money laundering case against him. 27-year-old Ms Pimpisut Chanlert made the request under the glare of media cameras at Tao Poon Police Station in Bangkok. The country is avidly watching the progress of this case. It sees Thailand’s most popular policeman fighting for his career. General Surachate is charged before the court with money laundering. The case is linked to the illegal gambling website BNK Master. At the same time, similar and extensive allegations concerning dozens of police officers and suspended National Police Chief, Torsak Sukwimol are also being examined at the same police station. It follows a criminal complaint by lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd. However, no prosecution or charges have been decided upon in that case.

An authorised lawyer for General Surachate Hakparn or ‘Big Joke’, 27-year-old Ms Pimpisut Chanlert, requested an extension of ten days for the top policeman to deliver his testimony in the money laundering case against him. She filed the request on Wednesday at Tao Poon Police Station, which is prosecuting the case. She cited a need to collate large volumes of data to properly present his defence.

Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, Police General Surachate Hakparn, commonly known as ‘Big Joke,’ has requested a postponement in providing testimony for his ongoing money laundering case.

A representative from his legal team, attorney Ms Pimpisut Chanlert, attended Tao Poon Police Station on April 17, 2024.

The lawyer met with police in front of reporters. At length, she formally requested a 10-day delay in his statement submission to the investigating officers.

Young female attorney met Inspector Maitri Sakulsilpakit to formally submit an application for a time extension to submit General Surachate’s testimony

Attorney Pimpisut met with Inspector Maitri Sakulsilpakit of Tao Poon Police Station to request the postponement. 

She cited the necessity of gathering further points of clarification and additional evidence for the investigating officers. In addition, she explained there was a large volume of documents that needed to be organised and reviewed.

This led to the request to delay the statement submission until April 27, 2024, at 10:00 am.

When approached by the media, Ms Pimpisut refused to provide further information. She explained that she was merely assigned to deliver and request consideration from the investigating officers.

In short, she did so under a power of attorney. The lawyer referred reporters to the police for any further inquiries. She swiftly left the station after submitting the request.

Big Joke declined to discuss his case with reporters on Wednesday when they phoned him. However, the well-known policeman has been widely seen in public 

Afterwards, some intrepid reporters phoned General Surachate. They were told explicitly that now was not a convenient time to discuss his case.

The senior policeman, assigned to the Prime Minister’s Office in March, has been highly visible since his arrest earlier in the month.

In addition to his charity works in Bangkok and the Southern provinces, General Surachate was seen at various locations in Thailand’s Isaan region over the Songkran weekend.

He visited temples in Chaiyaphum and Maha Sarakham. The popular police officer was warmly received by well-wishers.

The case against Police General Surachate involves allegations of conspiring to commit money laundering. At the same time, he is alleged to have worked with others to launder money from illegal online gambling. 

The charges stem from the investigation of the online gambling website BNK MASTER. General Surachate was summoned to appear before the investigative team three times but reportedly, never responded.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin intervened in the case on March 20th last. Previously, General Torsak Sukwimol had promised to transfer Big Joke’s case

Previously, the suspended national police chief on Wednesday, March 20th had promised to transfer Big Joke’s case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

It happened the day Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, on live TV, announced the suspension of the top officers from the force.

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

However, this proved not to be feasible.

General Surachate and his lawyers afterwards tried desperately to have the investigation process sidelined. Finally, this came to a dramatic conclusion on April 2nd in Bangkok.

The Criminal Court authorised an arrest warrant for the top cop.

In brief, it decided there was a case to answer. It issued an arrest warrant for the country’s best-known policeman. Certainly, this was a significant setback.

Lawyers for General Surachate have claimed that there is no basis for the case against him. On March 19th, they presented evidence linking the BNK Master gambling website with over thirty senior policemen.

Following the issuance of the arrest warrant by the court, Police General Surachate chose to surrender himself within hours. This was April 2nd last.

Big blow, preliminary report by the PM’s panel suggested General Surachate was guilty of money laundering

However, there was another blow for General Surachate days later.

At length, retired police deputy chief, Police General Winai Thongsong, suggested that Big Joke was guilty of money laundering. This was presented as a preliminary finding of a three-man panel set up by the Prime Minister.

Big shock: Arrest warrant issued by a court in Bangkok against Big Joke or General Surachate Hakparn
Bangkok police still targeting Big Joke over BNK Master website case. Arrest warrant considered

On April 2nd, General Surachate was released on bail after posting ฿100,000 in cash.

His statement to police investigators was due on April 17, but with the request for postponement, the date has now been pushed back to April 27.

Extension must still be decided upon. However, an extension of time request is both normal and reasonable

The investigative team, on Wednesday, emphasised the importance of defendants adhering to their reporting requirements throughout the bail period. 

Failure to meet these requirements may lead to bail revocation. However, the team can grant delays based on legitimate reasons and the evidence provided in support of the request.

The investigative team will review the reasons given by Police General Surachate’s legal team. In the meantime, they still have to decide whether to grant the extension until April 27. 

At the same time, such a request is both normal and reasonable.

Especially considering the already voluminous evidence presented in this case. Certainly also the conflict that there appears to be.

It is understood that the evidence on both sides overlaps.

Prime Minister urges the acting police chief to exercise restraint in bringing forward disciplinary action against General Surachate Hakparn as required by protocol

As the case progresses, the police and legal teams involved must work to ensure that it moves forward in an orderly manner.

Deputy Commissioner Surachate Hakparn or ‘Big Joke’ has been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. This is in connection with the BNK MASTER online gambling website. 

Although he initially faced difficulties complying with summonses, he is now actively cooperating with authorities. Similarly, he is working through his legal team to navigate the legal process.

At the same time, the acting National Police Chief Police Major General Kittirat Phanphet has been urged by the PM not to act in haste in relation to disciplinary action against General Surachate Hakparn.

The acting police chief is obliged to commence key activities within 60 days of General Surachate’s arrest. 

This includes a review of the case from investigators at Tao Poon Police Station.

In addition, a review panel must be established. In turn, General Surachate must be afforded the opportunity to present a case in his own defence.

Police officers at Tao Poon Police Station are under enormous strain with cases being reviewed against the country’s top two policemen. Centre of a storm

The legal processes facing General Surachate Hakparn comes with investigators at the same police station under enormous pressure.

A senior officer at the station was reportedly on the verge of resigning in recent weeks. 

Afterwards, with the intervention of a top Metropolitan Police Bureau officer, his resignation did not proceed.

Indeed, it was furiously denied. This is understood to be linked to the pressure investigators are under over the BNK Master website case.

This has been heightened by evidence being presented to top police officials by Mr Sittra Biebangkerd, or ‘Lawyer Tum’, an activist lawyer in Thailand.

It involves substantial financial evidence including witnesses. In short, these have been presented to police at Tao Poon Police Station. 

Investigators question the origin of evidence presented in a criminal complaint against police chief Torsak Sukwimol. Both cases linked to the BNK Master site

The allegations and evidence suggest that dozens of high-ranking police officers benefited from the same illegal gambling website. They include General Torsak Sukwimol, the suspended police chief.

Big Joke urged to resign by pundit Jatuporn Prompan after arrest warrant and guilty finding by PM’s panel
Sittra Biebangkerd held a press conference after meeting Bangkok police last Friday. He appeared confident in the case against suspended police chief General Torsak
Unprecedented crisis for the Royal Thai Police as Srettha baulks despite lawyer’s damning claims of corruption
Police chief withdraws defamation case to allow a full and open probe by investigators into his affairs

In recent days, however, investigators have suggested that this evidence is being examined. Furthermore, they have questioned its authenticity and legal admissibility.

Similarly, this was the position of lawyers for General Torsak before they withdrew a defamation case against Sittra.

This came after it was reported he would file a criminal complaint against the seconded national police chief.

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Further reading:

Big Joke urged to resign by pundit Jatuporn Prompan after arrest warrant and guilty finding by PM’s panel

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

Big shock: Arrest warrant issued by court in Bangkok against Big Joke or General Surachate Hakparn

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