11 July 2024

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha today had to intervene to help a traffic police officer in Thailand’s southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat who was abruptly transferred after a spat last week with a driver who  claimed to be a senior judge.

The driver, who was with his wife in the car, refused to show his driving license when stopped at a police check-point on a road in Thung Yai district by Corporal Aekapon Juisongkaew on the night of May 2.

Identifying himself as the director-general of the Region 8 Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, the driver told the traffic policeman he was a friend of the latter’s supervisor.

“I’m a director-general and a friend of Superintendent Choke.  Do you really want to see (driving license)? I’m the director-general, do you still want to search the car?” he was heard saying in a video clip that has gone viral.

He later drove away without producing his driving license as demanded.  The incident has become a hot topic of debate in the social media for the past two days, especially after the traffic policeman, Pol Lance Corporal Aekapon, was abrupted transferred at the order of Pol Col Chokdee Ratwattanapong, the superintendent of Thung Yai district police.

Pol Col Chokdee claimed that the transfer had nothing to do with the incident but only wanted “to relieve pressure” on the policeman after the clip went viral.

The incident apparently caught the attention of Prime Minister Prayut who, according to deputy government spokesman Lt-Gen Weerachon Sukondhapatipak, ordered Pol Lance Corporal Aekapon to be reinstated and commended him for doing a good job and for not bowing to influence.

He added that the Prime Minister also ordered the Office of Judicial Affairs to investigate whether the driver is indeed the director-general of the Region 8 Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases as claimed.

Pol Col Chokdee has reportedly been summoned to meet with Pol Lt-Gen Pongwuth Pongsri, commissioner of Region 8 Provincial Police Bureau, in connection with the incident.