6 June 2024

Three retired senior government officials have been appointed by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to investigate the scandal in which at least eight police officers, including a division commander, are suspected of involvement in an online gambling business.

The retired officials are Chatchai Promlert, former interior permanent secretary, as head of the probe panel, former deputy attorney-general Chartpong Jiraphan and Pol Lt-Gen Winai Thongsong, a former deputy national police chief.

The appointment order, issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, said that the scandal has attracted widespread public interest and has seriously affected public confidence in the justice system in Thailand, at a time when the government is trying to crack down on Mafia-type influential figures and illegal activities, especially online gambling business.

The committee is authorised to uncover facts about the police raids, including the one on the home of the deputy national police chief, and alleged police involvement in the illegal activities. It is to report its findings to the prime minister in 30 days and to report progress every ten days. The 30-day deadline for the completion of the probe can be extended if necessary by the prime minister.

The committee is empowered to appoint two officials from the Office of the Secretary-General of the Prime Minister as its assistant secretaries.

The three retirees are widely recognised in government circles for their honesty, integrity and capabilities.

Meanwhile, deputy national police chief, Pol Gen Surachate, filed a complaint with the Criminal Court today (Tuesday), seeking justice for himself and his subordinates over the raid on his house yesterday and the arrests of his subordinates.

The embattled deputy national police chief accused cyber task force police of hiding the facts about his presence at the house they sought to search, adding that, had the court known that he was there and that he had not been charged with committing an office, the court would not have issued the warrant.

He is also seeking justice for his subordinates, against whom arrest warrants had been issued, noting that, according to normal procedure, summonses should be issued first and arrest warrants should be issued when there are reasons to believe that the suspects may escape.