Chalerm confirms elder brother of Thaksin’s ex-wife to be new police chief

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BANGKOK, Sept 1 – Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung on Thursday confirmed that deputy police chief Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong will become Thailand’s new police chief replacing Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree who voluntarily leaves to take the top post at the National Security Council (NSC).

Mr Chalerm, who oversees police affairs, announced that he selected Pol Gen Priewpan, brother of former wife of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, to lead the National Police Bureau after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra authorised him to make the decision.

He also revealed after the talk with Gen Wichean that the police chief decided to submit a letter to the secretary-general of the prime minister asking to be transferred to head the NSC. He said the decision was made without his pressure.

The deputy premier stated he would raise the issue in the cabinet meeting Sept 6 and that he will submit the name of the new police chief to the cabinet after it appoints Gen Wichean as new NSC chief.

Mr Chalerm said earlier that Gen Wichean should take the post of NSC secretary-general, while current council chief Thawin Pleansri will be transferred to the Office of the Prime Minister, stating that Mr Thawin was secretary-general of the Centre for the Administration of the Emergency Situation (CRES) which responded to the Red Shirt demonstrations last year.

He reaffirmed that his decision is made appropriately as Gen Wichean is a good planner but not keen at suppression operations. Mr Chalerm asserted the transfer is aimed at resolving the problem, not taking revenge.

The deputy premier’s latest move came after Rakprathetthai Party leader and party-list MP Chuwit Kamolvisit showed a video segment recorded at a casino operating in the heart of Bangkok.

The deputy premier added that Gen Priewpan is the most senior officer and is good at drug suppression, while urging the public not to pay attention to the fact that the general is an elder brother of Khunying Pojaman Na Pombejra, Mr Thaksin’s ex-wife.