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Surachate suspended amid gambling, money laundering allegations

PHOTO: Stickboy BKK

Thailand’s deputy police chief, Surachate Hakparn (aka. Big Joke), has been suspended as an investigation into a gambling website and money laundering continues. Kitrat Panphet, acting national police chief, suspended Surachate, along with 4 subordinates, yesterday, April 18.

The Bangkok Post reports that the other 4 suspended officers include the deputy police commander of Songkhla province, Kittichai Sangkhathaworn and the deputy chief of Phra Samut Chedi police station in Samut Prakan, Krit Pariyaket. Also suspended are 2 traffic patrol police officers, named as Natthawut Wadwaew and Natthanan Chuchak.

The 5 have been accused of involvement in money laundering related to the BNK Master gambling network. It’s understood Kitrat had met with PM Srettha Thavisin to discuss the suspensions, which all 5 suspects have the right to appeal.

Surachate was transferred to an inactive post on March 20, along with the then national police chief, Torsak Sukvimol. The suspensions came amid rumours of a big rift in the senior ranks of the Royal Thai Police, with accusations of police involvement in illegal gambling rings.

On April 2, Surachate turned himself in to hear charges of money laundering and was subsequently released on bail.

Kitrat has now formed a new committee to investigate the roles of the 5 suspended officers. The committee is headed up by deputy national chief Sarawut Karnpanich and 14 senior police officers ranging from lieutenant colonel up to general.

To date, the ongoing investigation has revealed that the administrator of the BNK Master gambling website transferred money into a bank account held by Krit but not in his name.

The funds were then moved from there to the accounts of 2 of the suspended officers, who were then instructed to deliver envelopes of cash to Surachate’s home. It’s understood the transactions took place between February 8 and November 3, 2022.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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