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Court sets date for ‘Big Joke’ case

The Criminal Court has set a date to hear a case in which a police superintendent accuses former immigration chief Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn of pressing false charges against him.

The court said it would hear the case brought by Krissanapong Kanchaikij, a superintendent attached to Provincial Police Region 9, on March 30.

Pol Col Krissanapong alleged that Pol Lt Gen Surachate filed a false charge of abusing his authority against him in the Criminal Court on July 12, 2011.

He said he had been accused of hiring or coaxing a karaoke pub owner to submit a formal complaint against Pol Lt Gen Surachate.

Pub owner Ketsayam Naowarangsee had alleged that Pol Lt Gen Surachate had extorted money from him during a subsequent trial.

Pol Col Krissanapong said Pol Lt Gen Surachate wanted to land him in trouble because the former immigration chief, who was his superior at the time, was convinced he held grudges after having been reprimanded.

Pol Col Krissanapong denied he hired Mr Ketsayam to lodge the court action. The pub owner took Pol Lt Gen Surachate to court of his own free will, he said.

During that trial, Mr Ketsayam fled to Laos, resulting in the suspension of the trial.

The Criminal Court later acquitted Pol Col Krissana of the charge filed by Pol Lt Gen Surachate, saying there were no grounds. Pol Lt Gen Surachate’s appeal against the ruling was also dropped, according to Pol Col Krissanapong.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate was suddenly removed last year as immigration police chief and made an adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office on public service, ending his high-flying career in the police force. No reason was given for his reassignment to the inactive post.

The formerly high-profile officer had stayed out of the limelight until early last month, when eight gunshots were fired at his car in Bang Rak district of Bangkok.

He claimed at the time that someone was trying to shut him up because he had been a vocal critic of a 2-billion-baht biometric scamming system that the Immigration Bureau had procured.

Early this month, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha issued an offical warning  letter to Pol Lt Gen Surachate, telling him to observe official codes of conduct.

The warning came after Pol Lt Gen Surachate called for an investigation into the procurement of the German-made biometric system, which was approved by national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda.

Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta, a deputy police chief, was recently moved an inactive post for apparently defying an order from Pol Gen Chakthip to stay out of the Surachate investigation.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate has since left the country and has been ordained temporarily as a Buddhist monk in India Bangkok post




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