Arrest warrant for “Big Joke” for alleged money laundering

Arrest warrant for "Big Joke" for alleged money laundering

Investigators were unable to deliver three summonses to Pol Gen Surachate

Arrest warrant for 'Big Joke' for alleged money laundering
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn speaks to reporters on March 20 following his sudden transfer to the PM’s Office. On Tuesday, the Criminal Court approved a police request to arrest him for alleged collusion in the laundering of gambling network money. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

The Criminal Court on Tuesday approved a police request for an arrest warant for embattled deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, for alleged collusion in the laundering of gambling network money.

Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) investigators filed the application for a warrant at the Criminal Court on Tuesday morning.

Pol Gen Surachate, known as Big Joke, is accused of colluding in money laundering and being a state official colluding in money laundering in violation of Sections 5, 9 and 10 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Pol Maj Gen Thinnakorn Rangmart, deputy MPB chief, was at the court but did not speak to reporters.

About 4pm, the court approved the police request for an arrest warrant for Pol Gen Surachate.

The court ruled it had been presented with sufficient evidence to support the request for an arrest warrant. The subject of the warrant had evaded receiving the police summonses that were issued, and the case was within the authority of the court.

On March 12, the court approved warrants for the arrest of three police officers and a civilian for suspected involvement in money laundering in connection with the BNK Master gambling website.

They were identified as Pol Col Kittichai Sangkhathaworn, Pol Sgt Natthawut Wadwaew, Pol Sgt Natthanan Chuchak, and Napansakorn Haekerd. The court also approved a summons for Pol Gen Surachate.

Investigators later issued three separate summonses for the deputy national police chief to report for questioning but were unable to physically deliver them to him. They went to the court on Tuesday morning to seek an arrest warrant for Pol Gen Surachate.

There were reports that Pol Gen Surachate had submitted a letter to the chief justice of the Criminal Court asking if there was a police request for a warrant for his arrest.

The letter also said that Pol Lt Col Krit Pariyaket had sent a letter seeking justice to the Department of Special Investigation. He asked that the DSI accept as a special case the criminal investigation against him being handled by Tao Poon police station.

Evidence in the police investigation report against Pol Lt Col Krit was submitted to the DSI. Pol Lt Col Krit was accused of colluding in money laundering and committing a money laundering offence in connection with a gambling network with over 300 million baht in circulation.

The investigation qualified as a special case under the law and the DSI had the authority to handle it. 

At 4.40pm, Pol Lt Col Sarawut Buddee, deputy chief for investigation at Sai Mai police station and head of the BNK Master investigation team, confirmed the Criminal Court had approved an arrest warrant. Pol Gen Surachate could be arrested immediately, when found, Pol Lt Col Sarawut said.

Pol Lt Col Sarawut Buddee, deputy chief for investigation at Sai Mai police station and head of the investigation team handling the BNK Master case, confirms to reporters that the Criminal court approved an arrest warrant for Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn. (Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham)