Big Joke’s Mission: Top Cop Surachate Hakparn, aka ‘Big Joke,’ vows to clean up corruption in Thailand using ‘People Power.’ Under investigation yet fighting to clear his name, he seeks 20,000 signatures to probe the Anti-Corruption Commission. Could he still be the next National Police Commissioner?

Thailand’s top policeman General Surachate Hakparn, or ‘Big Joke,’ continues his mission to clean up corruption in Thailand. Presently, the top police officer is under review by the Criminal Court, a police disciplinary committee and a prime ministerial panel. Yet he continues to assert his innocence. At the same time, he is still a Royal Thai Police deputy chief, with the status of his removal from the force being openly called into question. Certainly, General Surachate sees himself as the next National Police Commissioner. In the meantime, he has launched a website,, and a movement called Operation Clean House to investigate the country’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Acting National Police Commissioner General Kittirat Phanphet has been in an increasingly demanding position as the status of Deputy Police Chief Surachate Hakparn, or Big Joke, becomes difficult to define. Meanwhile, internecine strife within the force has made it dysfunctional at a senior level. Lately, Big Joke (left) has presented a petition to the President of Parliament, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, seeking to activate a provision under Section 236 of the 2017 Constitution (inset). It calls for an independent investigation into the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) under the supervision of the courts.

The move by General Surachate is provided for under Section 236 of the 2017 Constitution. In summary, he is seeking 20,000 proven signatures to present to the parliament president, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, to call for an investigative panel to be appointed by the courts to review the independent agency.

The top cop has warned corrupt officials that ‘People Power’ would in future be used to clean up government agencies.

The ongoing saga of alleged corruption and wrongdoing within the Royal Thai Police continues.

Status of the country’s most popular policeman remains highly uncertain  although he is as determined and bullish as ever to fight against the bad guys

However, the substance and details of the ongoing saga are becoming increasingly byzantine. In turn, this is challenging not only media reporting but also committees established to get to the bottom of the matter.

At the same time, the status of Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate continues to be uncertain.

For instance, an order signed by the Prime Minister removing him from the Prime Minister’s Office back to the police force, and his dismissal hours previously by the acting police chief General Kittirat Phanphet, have now been put in doubt.

Recently, General Kittirat appeared to accept that General Surachate or ‘Big Joke’ as he is very affectionately known, remains a senior police officer. 

There is some doubt over the legality of the process of his removal from the force. In summary, it appears that the process stipulated by the relatively new Police Act (2022) was not followed.

Undoubtedly, General Surachate himself believed this as he stormed Royal Thai Police headquarters on April 25th. At that time, he described himself as the best man to lead the police force after October 2024.

Fourteen-member internal police panel of enquiry probing breach of discipline saw General Surchate question nine of the members as lacking impartiality

This comes despite the senior officer removing his belongings from his office on April 19th. At the same time, General Surachate returned his government car to the force.

Subsequently, further controversy developed over a 14-member panel of enquiry set up under police regulations. 

The purpose of the committee was to probe serious disciplinary misconduct charges against Big Joke and four other officers who were charged before the Criminal Court in relation to money laundering.

In short, this was linked to the BKK Master illegal gambling website.

Top lawyer notes a lack of progress after providing witnesses and evidence to Tao Poon Police Station in Bangkok against over 30 senior police officers 

In contrast, well-known lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd, or Lawyer Tum, has lodged evidence and witnesses implicating over thirty senior policemen. In effect, these, allegedly, are officers opposed to General Surachate’s clique in the divided force.

The allegations of massive corruption and money laundering include charges against suspended National Police Commissioner General Torsak Sukwimol.

In recent weeks, Mr Sittra has reported very little progress on the investigation being handled by Tao Poon Police Station in Bangkok.

In short, this is the same police station that doggedly pursued charges against General Surachate leading to an arrest warrant being issued against him on April 2nd.

Significantly, the cases against both senior policemen are mirror images of each other. However, the allegations against the police chief and up to 30 other senior officers relate to more widespread corruption.

Strong public support and backing for Big Joke after efforts to unseat him from within the  force and even following a court arrest warrant being issued

General Surachate, or Big Joke, has received strong public support and backing ever since his dismissal. In particular, from the Southern Thai Association, of which he is President.

A significant press conference in March exposed a corruption network within the police. Certainly, this excluded General Surachate. The top policeman’s lawyers alleged a campaign to remove him so that he could not become police chief.

After that, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin intervened.

Big Joke survives an alleged effort to discredit him. PM appoints temporary police chief and enquiry panel
Thailand’s oldest association endorses Big Joke after being fired Thursday amid a police corruption crisis
Big Joke storms Royal Thai Police headquarters insisting that he is still the right man for the top job

He sidelined the two officers and ordered a probe chaired by former Deputy Police Chief Winai Thongsong.

Afterwards, General Winai pronounced General Surachate as linked to criminal activity and money laundering.

However, there is some sign that there may be developments on this. A press conference scheduled for early May to complete the panel’s enquiry has been postponed. 

The Prime Minister’s panel just postponed its press conference to announce its findings by 30 days. It has taken statements  from both top police officers

The other members are Chatchai Promlert, a former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior. In addition, there is also Mr Chatpong Jiraphanthu.

The panel finally, it appears, has interviewed both General Torsak Sukwimol and General Surachate Hakparn together with key witnesses.

Prior to the deadline of May 20th, General Winai sought a 30-day extension. In short, this was approved by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin while in Italy last week.

General Winai has subsequently made it clear that final conclusions had not been reached with respect to both officers. In addition, he described the financial evidence as complex and challenging.

Meanwhile, General Surachate continues to question the impartiality of the disciplinary enquiry within the Royal Thai Police. The top officer questions no less than nine of the fourteen members.

A meeting of the committee was scheduled for May 7th. However, it is not clear what transpired at that meeting. The panel is chaired by General Sarawut Karpanich, another deputy police chief.

Before the meeting, some of the officers allied with General Surachate complained of being physically intimidated.

Lawyer Tum or Mr Sittra wants Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) action against a senior police officer who owns two properties in the United Kingdom

Notwithstanding all of this, Mr Sittra Biebangkerd has been pushing for action on the information he has presented to police.

At the end of April, he additionally approached the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) to take action against a cohort of key players he linked with General Torsak Sukwimol.

The top lawyer says that there is a danger of assets being transferred. At the same time, charges have been made relating to properties in the United Kingdom and a wife of a senior commander enquiring about UK citizenship.

Following the submission by Mr Sittra, a spokesman for the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) responded.

Mr Suthisak Sumon, a reported legal expert, said the submission was being examined. Certainly, he cautioned about the need to be fair and impartial to all sides.

Meanwhile, General Surachate has not been seen in uniform. Previously, it was reported that he may seek a seat in the Senate.

However, he lately announced in Songkhla, his home base, that he would not do so. The southern province is additionally the top cop’s birthplace.

Big Joke rose through the ranks of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Tourist Police and Immigration Bureau to become deputy police chief after his return to the force in March 2021.

Formerly, he studied at the Armed Forces Academy and Police Cadet Academy, at Mahidol University. Before that, he was educated at the Eastern Asia University in Rangsit, Pathum Thani.

Big Joke declined to run for the Senate but instead opted to be a lightning rod for ‘People Power’ in a campaign to fight institutional corruption at the top

Notwithstanding this, the 53-year-old police dynamo underlined his commitment to public service.

In short, he has announced himself as a leader of people power to fight inherent corruption in Thailand.

In addition, Big Joke has launched his own website. is now online. The policeman’s first mission has been announced. It is ‘Operation Sweep House’.

Last week, it even drew reluctant praise from his arch-nemesis, former National Police Commissioner Chakthip Chaijinda.

In 2019, General Chakthip is understood to have played a role in Big Joke’s removal from police service as Immigration Bureau boss.

However, afterwards, General Surachate made a number of complaints which led to General Chakthip being investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Now, Big Joke is calling for an independent inquiry into alleged corruption within the anti-corruption agency itself. General Chakthip last week applauded the move, noting that General Surachate was not particularly an associate of his.

Big Joke using Section 236 of the 2017 Constitution

To further this, he has initiated a mechanism under Section 236 of the 2017 Constitution.

In brief, it allows for a petition signed by 20,000 voting citizens to be laid before the President of the Parliament.

On May 6th, General Surachate wrote to Parliament President Wan Muhamad Noor Matha explaining his intention to organise such a campaign. 

The southern politician Mr Wan Muhamad Noor Matha is seen by the popular police officer as someone supportive of his position.

The campaign began in Songkhla and has covered key southern provinces.

Previously, it was in Chonburi last week collecting signatures. Presently, it is understood that General Surachate has 15,000 meticulously documented signatures supporting his appeal.

Big Joke is fighting on all fronts not only for his name but his career and liberty as well.  Undoubtedly, there is more to this fight than even all of that, hidden from view

In the meantime, the future of the country’s charismatic policeman is in flux. Certainly, General Surachate holds out hope that he could still return next October as the National Police Commissioner.

Behind the scenes, it is known that there is a mammoth struggle for the future control of the force.

Nonetheless, General Surachate stoutly maintains his innocence of the charges against him. In the meantime, it is clear that he intends to pursue what he sees as his mission to fight corruption in Thailand.

His supporters see him as a champion in a good fight while his detractors dismiss him as another corrupt policeman facing charges.

Certainly, the man himself is in no doubt. He made it clear in early May as he warned corrupt officials about his Section 236 campaign.

‘If you don’t do your duty honestly, People Power will come to do the job instead. Today we haven’t even started searching for names yet. Many people have contacted and signed up. After collecting all the names, the matter will be submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly again to proceed with the process.’

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Further reading:

Big Joke storms Royal Thai Police headquarters insisting that he is still the right man for the top job

Surachate 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