Thailand assigns Athapol to replace former chief involved in bribery scandal

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In his new role, Athapol said he plans to establish a committee to review and revise post-transfers ordered by Rutchada, and to ensure that transfers are placed based on the most suitable candidate for each position.

Athapol Charoenshunsa has been sworn in as the acting chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, vowing to restore justice for state forest officials and increase transparency to regain public trust.

The appointment comes after a bribery scandal involving the former chief, Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, damaged the department’s reputation.



In his new role, Athapol said he plans to establish a committee to review and revise post-transfers ordered by Rutchada, and to ensure that transfers are placed based on the most suitable candidate for each position.

Athapol also said his first priority is to restore justice for any staff who may have received unfair treatment, adding that he has full authority from the government to proceed without interference. He also plans to visit a number of local officers, including the forest fire prevention unit that has faced a “missing budget” to discuss assistance.



Regarding the Rutchada case, Athapol said the department is providing information as requested by the committee investigating the disciplinary actions. The committee is currently working with the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to determine if Rutchada is guilty of any corruption charges.

Results are expected to be announced next month. (NNT)