Bangkok, Sep 26 (EFE).- Thailand’s prime minister Srettha Thavisin announced Tuesday a commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption against deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn.
Srettha made the announcement a day after the police Cybercrime unit searched some 30 houses, including that of Surachate and several of his subordinates, in connection with bribes allegedly paid by an illegal online betting group.
Police didn’t find incriminating evidence and did not arrest Surachate, although they apprehended 17 people, including eight police officers working under him.
Surachate, nicknamed “Big Joke,” told journalists after the raid that he was innocent and the investigation was an attempt to discredit him.
The case is related to bribes paid by a group led by Phongsiri “Boss Than” Tharacawongsuk, former Thai soccer club Lamphun Warriors president, arrested in June for illegal gambling and money laundering.
Surachate said his name did not appear in the search warrant, only his address, which he called an attempt to confuse the court.
The investigation coincides with an appointment process to choose the next national police chief.
Surachate was allegedly vying to fill the position, although he has denied this.
It is not the first time Surachate has been involved in a controversy.
In 2019, he was expelled from the police without further explanation and a year later, when he was the chief of Immigration Bureau, a gunman fired several shots into his car while it was parked in the street.
The officer has supervised the investigation into the murder of Colombian surgeon Edwin Arrieta by Spaniard Daniel Sancho in August on Koh Phangan.EFE