Big Joke fights back as he returns to police HQ. The top cop insisted he was the right man for the top job in October. General Surachate Hakparn promised legal action against the ‘cabal’ aiming to remove him from the Police to thwart his chances of becoming Commissioner.

Big Joke or General Surachate Hakparn returned to Royal Thai Police headquarters on Thursday. The dismissed top cop promised to file criminal cases against what he termed a cabal in the police force seeking to remove him. Certainly, he was similarly highly critical of acting National Police Commissioner General Kittirat Phanphet. General Surachate singled out the acting police chief for particular attention. He argued that the process of his removal last week was legally flawed. Significantly, he said it was based on an outdated procedure which was replaced by the 2022 Police Act. At the same time, he still insisted that he was the right man to be appointed National Police Commissioner in October.

Dismissed deputy national police chief General Surachate Hakparn, or ‘Big Joke’, marched into police headquarters on Thursday. At length, he gave a forceful presentation explaining why he was still a policeman and why the order to remove him was legally flawed. He promised to file a case against other police officers with the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct. In short, he insisted he was the most qualified and senior officer to become the next National Police Commissioner.

Just 48 hours after withdrawing a complaint against the Prime Minister, Big Joke or General Surachate Hakparn was back in the fray on Thursday.

The dismissed deputy police chief appeared at Royal Thai Police headquarters to present his case to reporters. Firstly, he insisted that he remains a deputy police chief as a royal decree had not yet been issued. 

General Surachate said the force’s order removing him ‘for now’ from government service endorsed last Thursday by the PM was illegal on a number of fronts

In addition, he questioned whether an order could be signed removing him from the force before a disciplinary panel had reported.

On April 18th, acting police chief General Kittirat Phanphet established such a panel. However, under the terms of the 2022 Police Act, his removal should come after a concluding report from it.

At length, the removal occurred on April 18th, 2024, and was approved by the Prime Minister at a Government House meeting requested by General Kittirat.

However, this Thursday, General Surachate pointed out that the order was signed by the acting police chief on April 17th.

Significantly, Big Joke explained he was reassigned back to the Royal Thai Police command at the same time.

This came despite the Prime Minister’s move on March 20th, which transferred him to the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Thursday, General Surachate said that the order to remove him ‘for now’ was an archaic one.

It was only valid under the previous regime of Police Commission regulation. In short, this procedure had been outlawed by the 2022 Police Act.

Big Joke says he’ll prosecute the officers involved in the move against him before the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct. Claims he is innocent

He promised to bring his case to the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct. Before the court, he would seek action against all police commanders involved in the effort to remove him.

Wearing a blue suit and yellow tie, previously seen on his many international trips in his role in the force, the deputy chief was in fighting mode.

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

On Wednesday, he abruptly withdrew his complaint to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) against the prime minister.

Indeed, General Surachate apologised to the PM when doing so. The country’s most popular policeman said he was a man from the South and big-hearted.

On Thursday, Big Joke was adamant that there was a cabal within the Royal Thai Police. The coterie of senior officers was trying to remove him. He described the group as power-hungry and ruthless.

In truth, the top police commander still insisted he could be appointed police chief later this year.

Top cop virulently denies that there is any evidence against him relating to the allegations of money laundering now before the Anti-corruption commission

At length, he denies that there is any evidence of wrongdoing against him.

Similarly, with both cases against him now transferred to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), he claims he is innocent.

Despite being charged before the Criminal Court and arrested on April 2nd on money laundering charges, General Surachate insists there is no basis for the case.

The allegations against him suggest that from February 2022 to November 2022, he was involved in money laundering involving two motorcycle policemen. He is alleged to have received cash in envelopes.

These payments were linked to a financial trail of other senior officers. The allegations against him suggest that the money was linked to the BNK Master illegal gambling website.

General Surachate denies the claims.

Furthermore, he has previously claimed that he does not need further assets given that his wife is wealthy.

In addition, he claims his mission in life is to serve as a policeman.

Confidently expects to be the next police chief in October. The top cop known as an anti-corruption fighter, has promised to reform the force if appointed

On Thursday, he emphasised that at 53 years of age, he is still a deputy police chief. In turn, he is both the most senior and accomplished officer for the top job.

This post, currently held by suspended chief General Torsak Sukwimol, will be filled by the Police Commission. The chairman of the Commission is Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

If appointed to the role this year General Surachate would be in line to become a long-serving police chief.

Previously he has insisted that he would significantly reform the force within 7 days if appointed.

Armed with visual aids, the former police chief explained that the heave against him began last year. This was when his home was raided in Bangkok.

That move was driven by an investigation by officers at Thung Mamek Police Station in Bangkok.

Subsequently, that investigation linked to the Minnies illegal gambling website was transferred to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Case against him resurrected again at Tao Poon Police Station based on the same circumstances and alleged money trail. It should never have been pursued

The reason for this is the complex nature of large criminal cases with extensive money trails.

In addition, the involvement of a senior government official warrants it. While the anti-corruption agency is examining the handling of the case, the matter is considered dormant.

In effect, General Surachate’s career should not be impeded.

However, Big Joke claims that the substance of this case was divided and a second case based on the same circumstances was launched.

This was given by the cabal targeting him to investigators at Tao Poon Police Station.

General Surachate insists that the investigation which led to his arrest on April 2nd was illegal.

Indeed, if the file had been sent to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) as promised on March 20th by General Torsak Sukwimol, the case would have been halted. 

Afterwards, it was sent the day after General Surachate was removed from government service.

This was on April 19th, the day after the prime minister countersigned an order removing him on Thursday, April 18th.

Aghast and angry that his name was removed at HQ

On Thursday, General Surachate was aghast that his nameplate had been removed from his office at police headquarters.

He warned, however, that whoever ordered the move would be defeated.

Big Joke drops case against the PM as his nameplate and photo have been removed at Royal Thai Police HQ

The top cop said he was taken aback by the ruthlessness and determination of those who sought to sideline him from the top job.

On the other hand, he raised the fact that there was no evidence of wrongdoing against him.

Secondly, the Prime Minister was aware of his strengths as a policeman. Big Joke ended his presentation by insisting that he still believes in the system and that he would be afforded justice.

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Further reading:

Big Joke drops case against the PM as his nameplate and photo have been removed at Royal Thai Police HQ

Big Joke lodges a malfeasance complaint with anti-corruption agency against PM Srettha Thavisin after losing job

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