Police chief transferred to head National Security Council

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BANGKOK, Oct 4 – The Thai cabinet approved the transfer of national Police Chief Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree to become National Security Council (NSC) secretary general, paving the way for deputy police chief Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong to become the country’s new top cop.

Gen Priewpan is a brother of Pojaman na Pombejra, ex-wife of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a Sept 2006 coup d’etat.

Under the new appointment, Gen Wichean would replace Thawil Pliensri, transferred last month to become an adviser to the prime minister within the Office of the Prime Minister.

Mr Thawil petitioned the Civil Service Commission for Merit Systems Protection, saying he considered the reshuffle as an “unfair” transfer for him.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung earlier confirmed that Gen Priewpan would become Thailand’s new police chief replacing Gen Wichean who voluntarily agreed to take the top post at the NSC.

Mr Chalerm insisted that the reshuffle was made appropriately as Gen Wichean is a good planner but not keen on suppression operations, while Gen Priewpan is the most senior officer and is good at drug suppression.

The change at the top of the national police came after Rakprathetthai Party leader and party-list MP Chuwit Kamolvisit showed a video recorded at a casino operating in the heart of Bangkok.

Nineteen police including the metropolitan police chief were summoned by the inspector general to acknowledge charges related to the alleged illegal gambling den in Bangkok’s Sutthisan area.