On Thursday, the fate of sidelined Police Chief General Torsak Sukwimol (Big Tor) and General Surachate Hakparn (Big Joke) may be decided. It comes amid swirling reports suggesting the return of General Torsak to duty as the head of the Royal Thai Police. However, nothing is yet confirmed.

On Thursday, we are expecting an indication as to the fate of both sidelined Police Chief General Torsak Sukwimol known as ‘Big Tor’ and General Surachate Hakparn ‘Big Joke’. A press statement is to be issued by government legal advisor Wissanu Krea-ngam. At length, it is expected to announce the conclusions of a panel of inquiry established on March 19th. This was at the behest of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. It followed allegations and counter-allegations of corruption against both the National Police Chief and his deputy. A criminal legal case is currently before the court concerning this, as well as an investigation by both Bangkok police and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Government legal advisor Wissanu Krea-ngam (right) is to give a press conference at 11 am on Thursday. On Wednesday, in advance, there were swirling rumours of a return to police duty of General Torsak Sukwimol (left). The National Police Chief has been sidelined since March 19th after a cloud of controversy arose in relation to his role and that of deputy police chief General Surachate Hakparn. Both faced allegations of corruption. (Source: Government House, House of Representatives, and Royal Thai Police Headquarters)

On Wednesday evening in Bangkok, rumours were flying around about a return to duty of General Torsak Sukwimol, the police chief. Certainly, the rumour was unconfirmed and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, when it was put to him, declined to comment.

However, he did confirm that the government legal advisor, Wissanu Krea-ngam, will make a statement on Thursday at 11 am.

Statement comes after a three-man panel thought to have concluded its enquiry ordered by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin into the affair on March 19th last

Mr Wissanu Krea-ngam is making the statement on behalf of the three-member panel established by the Prime Minister in March this year.

It was chaired by former Deputy Police Chief General Winai Thongsong. The committee, appointed on March 19th, additionally includes a former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior.

Previously, on Wednesday, General Surachate Hakparn, or Big Joke, was at the House of Representatives.

There, he presented 25,000 signatures under Section 236 of the Constitution. The embattled deputy police chief, currently sidelined, hailed the move as an exercise in people power.

Furthermore, he drew attention to his new website Hakparn.com where he encourages the public to participate.

Sidelined and embattled deputy police chief General Surachate Hakparn enters the House of Representatives with a petition to impeach a NACC member

In short, it is understood that General Surachate is targeting a former police officer who is a member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). 

His petition was lodged with the House Speaker, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha.

In effect, it calls for the individual’s impeachment. Before this, a parliamentary investigation would be required.

The former Immigration Bureau boss and one-time favourite to run the police force, has long campaigned against the individual. Indeed, reports suggest that the conflict dates back to 2021.

At that time, General Surachate had complained about the official’s elevation to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Big Joke marches on with his mission to clean up corruption in Thailand through People Power under the Constitution

‘This is the first time constitutional rights have been used to file charges against a state official from an independent organisation,’ declared General Surachate, or Big Joke.

At the same time, he maintained that all signatures are genuine. Secondly, he insisted his campaign is not driven by personal animosity.

Police committee to review an appeal by General Surachate Hakparn against his removal from government service is set to begin work and rule by August 2025

In the meantime, also on Wednesday, the acting police chief General Kittirat Phanphet made an announcement.

A committee dealing with General Surachate’s appeal against his dismissal from government service is to report within 60 days.

The controversial order was previously signed by General Kittirat in April.

It is understood that a file from the Police Commander’s Office has now been officially sent to the committee established under the Royal Thai Police Act 2022.

In turn, a file on this will be sent to General Surachate. Clearly, it appears that a process is underway linked with General Surachate’s dismissal from service in April by the acting chief.

Afterwards, it is expected that General Surachate will either accept or fight the position laid down by the acting police chief.

In brief, the committee will eventually make a determination which will be subsequently sent to the Police Commission.

This is chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. Following this, a decision will be made and communicated to all parties.

After that, if any party wishes to appeal the matter, it can be laid before the Administrative Court.

Confusion has reigned in the public’s mind about the affair. Conflicting claims relating to massive corruption within the police force at a national level

On Wednesday, it was pointed out that the last date for the committee to adjudicate on the matter will be 120 days from April 25th, 2024.

At length, that is when General Surachate appealed his removal from his position and government service.

That could conceivably see the process extend into August unless the sidelined top cop accepts his removal from the force or is reinstated.

Undoubtedly, the public has been left confused by this situation. Certainly, on both sides, there have been claims of massive corruption on a national scale. The sums involved reach billions of baht.

In recent weeks, General Torsak Sukwimol, the sidelined police chief, has faced additional controversy.

In short, he was accused of concealing extensive property in London from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Meanwhile, activist lawyer Sittha Biabangkerd, or ‘Lawyer Tum’, has been pushing police to investigate evidence of corruption. His claims targeted General Torsak.

Enquiry’s conclusions expected to be made known in a statement delivered by government legal expert Wissanu Krea-ngam to the media at 11 am on Thursday

In addition, Police General Winai, the Chairman of the fact-finding panel reportedly found evidence of the tussle between both senior officers conflicting. It was also difficult to penetrate. 

Previously, General Winai had evaluated Big Joke or General Surachate as being linked to money laundering and appeared to endorse the police case against him.

Big shock: Arrest warrant issued by a court in Bangkok against Big Joke or General Surachate Hakparn
Big Joke survives an alleged effort to discredit him. PM appoints temporary police chief and enquiry panel

General Surachate was arrested after surrendering to officers at Tao Poon Police Station on April 2nd.

This came after a court authorised an arrest warrant against him on money laundering charges. These charges were linked to the illegal gambling site BNK Master.

In conclusion, all eyes will be on Mr Wissanu Krea-ngam on Thursday. It is hoped this will give some direction on where this story is going.

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Further reading:

Big Joke marches on with his mission to clean up corruption in Thailand through People Power under the Constitution

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