Former top cop General Surachate lodges a malfeasance complaint against the PM with the anti-corruption agency. He alleges unfair treatment and vows to fight. Tension over the matter rises with further political and legal moves expected.

General Surachate Hakparn came out fighting on all fronts on Monday after being dismissed from government service last week. The former top cop lodged a complaint against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). At the same time, he also wrote to parliament president Wan Muhamad Noor Matha who advised the former top cop to seek justice from the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions.

General Surachate Hakparn who was dismissed from government service and the Royal Thai Police on Thursday last, on Monday, lodged a complaint against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). He alleges that the process and sequence of events linked with his removal from the force and the criminal case against him have been unfair and unjust. In particular, the promise to assign a criminal case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). This was made on March 20th. Additionally, a lack of fairness in proceedings of a panel established by the PM. It comes amid extraordinary allegations of police corruption linked with hundreds of police officers while General Surachate insists that he is innocent.

Sacked former deputy police chief General Surachate Hakparn came out fighting on Monday. Firstly, he sent a request to the Parliament President Wan Muhamad Noor Matha asking for his case to be investigated.

Afterwards, he visited the offices of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in the centre of Nonthaburi just outside Bangkok.

There, he lodged a formal complaint against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin alleging malfeasance.

General Surachate claims that a police investigation launched against him at Tao Poon Police Station should never have proceeded.

In short, he claims it was a mirror image of a previous investigation that was handed over to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Criminal case and consequently an arrest warrant should not have proceeded, says General Surachate. This was promised after the March 20th summit with the PM

Given that the allegations against him refer to a senior police officer and associates, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) was the appropriate body to explore the allegations.

In effect, General Surachate claims that officers in Bangkok divided the documents in relation to the same case to launch a second investigation. This investigation was pursued by the Bangkok police station.

On Monday, General Surachate said the officers at Tao Poon Police Station had conducted an unfair investigation. 

For instance, if a case had a damage value in excess of ฿300 million, local police are obliged to pass it on to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) within 15 days.

Undoubtedly, the case previously referred to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) dealt with the same financial evidence.

At this time, both cases are now with the anti-corruption agency. However, the delay in doing so has caused General Surachate to be arrested and removed from government service.

Documents for the same case divided up between two police investigations to artificially create separate enquiries, alleges the now former police chief

On Monday, General Surachate said that the documents had been divided up between two artificially separate investigations.

Furthermore, he said that officers at the station had formerly claimed the case damage was less than ฿300 million.

Afterwards, the documentation sent to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) suggests it was ฿490 million.

In addition, if the case involves a senior government official, it should be handed to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). There is a sound moral basis for this.

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

Big Joke claims the decision to pursue money laundering charges against him by the local station should not have happened.

In short, the injustice is that even if he successfully defends himself before the Criminal Court, his career is nevertheless over.

Top officer’s career effectively ended even if acquitted of the charges arrayed against him related to money laundering. Big Joke says he was stitched up

This was explained to General Surachate by former protest leader, political activist, and pundit, Jatuporn Prompan in early April. On his media channel, he advised ‘Big Joke’ to give up his career as a policeman and go into politics.

The top cop is alleging a conspiracy by persons unknown to remove him from the force. On Monday, he claimed that if he was sixth on the list to become the next police chief, there would, in truth, be no criminal case against him.

On March 19th, lawyers for General Surachate’s lawyers identified over thirty policemen as linked to the BNK Master gambling website. They insisted the deputy chief was not among them. Thereafter, indeed, on the next day, the Prime Minister intervened.

On March 20th, General Surachate Hakparn was told he was being transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office. He was assured that a panel would investigate the claims made on both sides. At the same time, the National Police Chief, General Torsak Sukwimol was also removed.

On March 20th, after the Prime Minister’s intervention, Big Joke was told that the police case would be handed to the anti-corruption agency for fairness

General Surachate was told that day that the case at Tao Poon Police Station would be handed over also to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

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On Monday, the former top cop explained that a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) would have had the flexibility to get to the bottom of the conflict.

Furthermore, he would have been innocent of any criminal charge until the committee reported.

However, that did not happen.

The case file was subsequently not handed over to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). 

However, on the day after General Surachate was removed from government service, the file was suddenly delivered. That was on Friday, April 19th, just last week.

On Thursday, April 18th, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin signed an order proposed by acting police chief General Kittirat Phanphet. In short, it ended General Surachate’s career in government service.

The reason being his arrest and appearance before the Criminal Court on money laundering charges. That was April 2nd, just 13 days after the PM intervened.

Big Joke can still appeal to a disciplinary panel. However, his faith in the Royal Thai Police and the Prime Minister has been exhausted by what happened

On Thursday, General Kittirat Phanphet highlighted a 14-member appeal panel as part of an extended disciplinary process.

It is understood that General Surachate is ready to make his case before it. At the same time, his faith in the police organisation is irreparably damaged.

On Monday, he showed quite a lot of emotion in his cry for justice. He explained that he has been forced now to fight for his name outside the police.

‘Believe that sacred things really exist. Who can do something like that? Whoever comes, goes that way. When my organisation cannot provide justice, therefore, we must petition an outside organisation.’

On Monday, General Surachate pointed out that if the file had been sent when promised, the criminal case against him would have had to await investigation by the anti-corruption agency.

Indeed, this was the whole basis of having a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

General Surachate declared guilty of  money laundering charges by Prime Minister’s three-man panel 

Subsequently, retired deputy police chief General Winai Thongsong proclaimed General Surachate Hakparn guilty of money laundering.

General Winai was part of a three-member ad hoc committee set up by the PM to report on the affair.

In recent weeks, General Winai said he had relied on the work of prosecuting officers at Tao Poon Police Station. Nonetheless, he also insisted he had made his own inquiries.

General Surachate, on Monday, was highly critical of this process.

In particular, he said he had not been afforded an opportunity to give testimony to the panel as promised.

Certainly, Monday’s turn of events was dramatic. The intention was clear.

The ex-top cop wants to bring his story into the political arena. The public favourite feels he has been the victim of an injustice.

Prime Minister’s Office insisted on no prejudice against Big Joke. Certainly, if the PM refused to sign the acting police chief’s order, he would be wrong

On Monday, he made it quite plain.

In short, he accused Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of misconduct and interference.

In response, sources at Government House pointed out that if Mr Srettha refused to sign the order removing Big Joke on Thursday last, he would also have been accused of malfeasance or dereliction of duty.

On April 22, 2024, at the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in Nonthaburi Province, General Surachate held a press conference.

Armed with visual aids and a strong sense of self-belief, he expressed his determination to fight against what he sees as injustice.

Attended by a large media posse, as is his style, General Surachate submitted a letter to NACC secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol.

He told reporters he was formally lodging a complaint against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

General Surachate contends that Prime Minister Srettha failed in his duties. In particular, regarding Surachate’s treatment and the effective ending of the top policeman’s career.

Drama comes against the backdrop of massive police corruption claims which are supported by financial evidence and witness testimony presented to the force

This drama is happening with massive claims of police corruption within the Royal Thai Police.

While General Surachate was being removed in a doggedly persistent process, evidence and witnesses were presented to Bangkok police. It spoke of a massive network of police-controlled criminal activities nationwide.

The crux of Surachate’s accusation on Monday stems from his recent suspension from government service.

In short, he views it as a politically motivated manoeuvre to thwart his ambitions. Forces within the police wanted to sideline him from contention for the top job.

Surachate alleges that his suspension was facilitated by the Prime Minister’s behaviour. He is determined to fight back against what he perceives as unfair treatment.

During a press conference held at the NACC, Surachate did not mince words: ‘This operation was an illegal investigation and harassment because I was not allowed to be Police Commander. Today, I would like to accuse Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of not performing his duties appropriately.’

He further emphasised his willingness to depart if found guilty but underscored the necessity for a fair investigation: ‘If I’m really wrong, I’ll leave. But there must be a fair investigation, but today the investigation was unfair, so I have to fight.’

Shockwave through the system on Monday. This is a man who has always been seen as an anti-corruption fighter and maverick. Big Joke has public support

Surachate’s move on Monday will send a shockwave through Thailand’s political world. It highlights the intricate web of power struggles and personal ambitions that often define the country’s corridors of power. 

This provocative appeal to the public will have made him even more enemies.

Known as smart and highly competent, General Surachate is undoubtedly the public’s favourite policeman. 

For a decade, he has been the fixer for the Royal Thai Police. Known and respected internationally by external police agencies, at the same time, he was always seen as an outsider.

Indeed a maverick, ready to act against corrupt or bent police wherever he found them.

This has made him enemies, in particular, among an officer class that values teamwork and respect for authority.

His defiance in the face of adversity will garner widespread attention and sympathy from segments of the public. Many perceive him as a victim of political machinations.

Alas, in truth also, some will see him as just another corrupt police officer. Such is the current, decimated reputation of the Royal Thai Police.

Dismissed top cop attacks the police force and the government. On Monday, it responded by playing down the actions against General Surachate as lawful

The timing of Surachate’s accusations is particularly noteworthy, coming at a time of heightened political tension and uncertainty.

With an unpopular government finely balanced between unlikely political alliances, his bold move could potentially influence the political sphere.

Certainly, the Thai public is in a state of shock following revelations of police corruption on a scale unheard of before.

Lawyer activist Sittra Biebangkerd, on March 28th, handed over a package to the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB).

It highlighted evidence linked to an internal police corruption mafia generating ฿100 million per month.

In response to Surachate’s allegations, the Prime Minister’s office, on Monday, was low-key.

In short, it asserts that all actions were taken in accordance with due process and the law. The statement denied any prejudice against General Surachate or ‘Big Joke.’

General Surachate insists on a plot to remove him from the Royal Thai Police. He claims the actions which came after the PMs’s intervention were unjust

However, the gravity of Surachate’s accusations is amplified by the growing corruption crisis within the Royal Thai Police.

Additionally, this is clearly an attack on the Prime Minister’s ability to govern.

General Surachate, basically, suggests he was let down by the Prime Minister after he met him on March 20th.

What subsequently transpired was not a fair or just process. The top cop makes it clear that there was a concerted effort to remove him from other quarters.

In the main, the policeman insists on his innocence.

‘If I’m really wrong, I’ll leave. I won’t stay and fight like this,’ he told reporters on Monday.

Not the first referral to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for the Prime Minister over police matters following November 2023 controversy

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is expected to study General Surachate’s submission.

In November 2023, Prime Minister Srettha was also referred to the anti-corruption agency for a controversial speech related to senior police appointments. The Prime Minister, significantly, is the Chairman of the Police Commission.

On Monday, General Surachate likened his treatment within the force to a case of bullying.

At any rate, a failure by the PM to protect him from this activity. He pointed to repeated letters and representations to bodies seeking justice.

He was especially vexed by the fact that his criminal case file was eventually transferred to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) the day after he was removed.

Simply put, if Big Joke’s case had been sent to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) as outlined on March 20th, he would not have lost his job

If the file had been sent over after the March 20th meeting with the Prime Minister as promised by the police chief, he would have been presumed innocent. No further action would have been taken until the agency reported.

In short, according to General Surachate, this was the design all along.

In addition, on Monday, he was critical of the haphazard panel of inquiry that was set up by the Prime Minister. This was to deal with his case.

Undoubtedly, it bluntly pronounced him guilty of money laundering. However, General Surachate denies this, insisting the process was unfair and he was denied an opportunity to present his case. In brief, he insists that he remains innocent.

‘If the investigation is fair, And if I was really wrong, so I would have left because if it were anyone else, I would have already folded,’ he explained on Monday.

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In the meantime, he was unquestionably the most likely candidate to lead the Royal Thai Police.

Certainly, General Surachate would have got the job last year until this criminal action was launched. It started with a mysterious raid on his home just days before the decisive meeting of the Police Commission.

The search warrant did not name the former deputy police chief. Police officers taking part were shocked to discover it was the home of the most well-known man on the force.

Big Joke previously removed from the Royal Thai Police in April 2019 to the Prime Minister’s Office but returned two years later to work at headquarters

Previously, General Surachate Hakparn was removed from the police in 2019 and mysteriously assigned to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Back then it was understood that the top officer was in conflict with senior officers over a procurement project.

General Surachate later gave testimony before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) together with other officers.

Nevertheless, on Monday, Big Joke also raised concerns about one member of the existing National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

He asked for this person to be investigated by the agency for inappropriate behaviour.

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The former top cop declined to comment on the reporter’s questions on supporting documentation provided. He simply suggested the information was already in the public sphere relating to this.

House Speaker urges Big Joke to go to court

On Monday, House of Representatives Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha addressed General Surachate’s appeal.

He insisted it was a matter that should be brought to the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions.

The Speaker noted that General Surachate had concerns about a member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and therefore, was entitled to go directly to the court for justice.

However, Mr Wan Muhamad said that the duty of parliament was to explore and examine corruption related to government organisations in public.

Certainly, the affair is expected to be aired as a political matter in the coming days.

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Further reading:

Thailand’s oldest association endorses Big Joke after being fired Thursday amid a police corruption crisis

Surachate requests time as Bangkok police station weighs cases against him and the also suspended police chief

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

Surachate 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