Big Joke faces 2 charges over financial links to gambling operatorsLegacy

The Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police (RTP), Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, faces two charges after financial transactions of his were found linked with the online gambling operators. Four other senior police officers were found involved but their identities had not yet been revealed.

The Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) officers raided Big Joke’s home in September last year over his alleged involvement in the gambling website operation. Eight police officers who worked closely with the deputy commissioner also face the same allegations.

It was later confirmed that all eight subordinates were involved in the gambling ring. They were identified as Police Major General Namkiat Teerarotjanapong, Police Colonel Khemarin Pitsamai, Police Colonel Parkbhum Pitsamai, Police Colonel Arrit Kuprasitrat, Police Major Chanon Aumthorn, Police Sergeant Nattawut Watwaew, Police Sergeant Apisit Khonyong, and Police Lieutenant Colonel Karit Pariyakate.

Big Joke insisted on his innocence, saying that the charges against him were the result of an internal conflict within the RTP. He accused some officers of trying to tarnish his reputation and obstruct his promotion as RTP commissioner.

The development of the case was not made public until today, February 21, when the Deputy Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), Jaroonkiat Pankaew, provided an update on the case to the public.

Jaroonkiat explained that the suspects in this gambling case were divided into two groups. The first group included 61 suspects, and eight of Big Joke’s subordinates were in this group.

Jaroonkiat went on to explain that the second group included five high-ranking police officers who had financial transactions connected with the suspects in the first group. He then confirmed that Big Joke was one of the five police officers in the second group.

Financial links

Jaroonkiat revealed that there was clear evidence leading to Big Joke, such as the bank account statement showing the financial transaction of over 300 million baht. The money from the gambling operation went to five police officers and their family members. The money was spent daily on house rent, car purchases, tuition fees, holidays, etc.

According to Jaroonkiat, Big Joke now faces two charges including:

  • Section 149 of the Criminal Law: requesting, receiving, agreeing to receive property or benefits, and committing illegal acts while in an official position. The penalty is imprisonment from five to 20 years, life imprisonment, or a fine of 100,000 to 400,000 baht.
  • Section 157 of the Criminal Law: dishonestly exercising any of official duties to cause damages to another person. The penalty will be imprisonment from one to 10 years, a fine from 2,000 to 20,000 baht, or both.

Jaroonkiat ensured that there were no internal conflicts or attempts to tarnish the reputation of this operation. The case was investigated based on justice, as it had a significant impact on RTP.

However, there is no report on the next steps of the operation and Big Joke has not yet responded to the matter.

The story Big Joke faces 2 charges over financial links to gambling operators as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Petch Petpailin