11 July 2024

The lawyer representing Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the deputy national police chief, has threatened to sue any individual or media outlet which states or implies that his client has any involvement in the illegal online gambling business.

Anantachai Chaidet said today (Wednesday) that he will submit a petition to the Bangkok South Criminal Court asking for an enquiry to be held into the legitimacy of the search of Pol Gen Surachate’s house by cyber task force officers and the arrests of eight police officers on Monday.

He advised reporters to cross check the accuracy their reports and the credibility of their sources before publishing or broadcasting the stories.

Meanwhile, Pol Lt-Gen Trairong Piewpan, commissioner of Legal Affairs and Litigation of the Royal Thai Police, told the media that he is not concerned about the threat of litigation made by Surachate’s lawyer.

He maintains that the cyber task force officers who conducted the search of Surachate’s house, located behind the Police Club, and the arrests of his subordinates were undertaken in accordance with the letter of the law and legal procedures, adding that an investigation into the online gambling platform “betblinkroyal.com” began several months ago, following the arrest of Pongsiri Tarachawongsuk, owner of the Phayao Warrior Football Club, who is charged with operating an online gambling business and money laundering.

Pol Lt-Gen Trairong explained that police ranks were not specified in the warrants for the arrests of the eight officers, referring only to them with the “Mr.” honorific, because it is not legally required and to protect their dignity.

The embattled deputy national police chief, meanwhile, has challenged the legitimacy of the police search of his house, noting that the search warrant must clearly specify for what the officers wanted to search and the timing.

The house in question actually belongs to a transport tycoon in Udon Thani, but is leased to Surachate for his subordinates.

Surachate is one of four deputy national police chiefs in line to become the new police chief, succeeding Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittipraphat when he retires at the end of this month.