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Prime Minister gags senior police officers over online gambling

Prime Minister gags senior police officers over online gambling

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin today ordered senior police officers to stop talking or giving news to the media about the BNKMaster online gambling case, in an effort to ease tensions within the police service while the case is being considered by an ad hoc fact-finding committee.

The panel members are Chatchai Promlert, former interior permanent secretary, Chartpong Jiraphan, former deputy attorney-general, and Pol Gen Winai Thongsong, former deputy national police chief.

Before chairing a meeting of the Police Commission today, the prime minister told the media that, since there is a problem in the Royal Thai Police, he must step in.

Since the justice process has already started, he said that he found it necessary to order senior police officers who take sides in the conflict to stop briefing the media in a way which implicates either Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, the national police chief, or his deputy, Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn.

Surachate is facing money laundering charges, in connection with the BNKMaster online gambling webpage. At a recent press conference, his lawyer claimed that more senior officers were involved in the online gambling business.

Pending the outcome of the investigation by the fact-finding panel, the prime minister said that he has ordered the transfers of Torsak and Surachate, to assist with work at the PM’s Office for 60 days, because he does not want to see officers quarrelling with each other, because it can only be detrimental, adding that he also does not want to see senior officers attempting to “interfere with” their subordinates.

Srettha offered an assurance that both officers will be treated fairly.

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