Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, Thailand’s highest-profile policeman, has been abruptly transferred from his role as head of the Immigration Bureau.
A rising star of the police force, Big Joke was widely tipped to be a future police commissioner. However, his career now appears to be over, having been removed from all police posts and transferred to a civilian position within Thailand’s civil service – a huge downgrade from his previous roles in the police force. Appointed to the top job in the Immigration Bureau less than one year ago, Big Joke has been rarely out of the headlines and featured almost daily in news bulletins in Thailand.
Having amassed a large following across social media, he oversaw the aggressive pursuit of foreign criminals and those residing in Thailand illegally, as well as visa over-stayers and so called ‘romance scammers’ and call centre gangs. He became synonymous with the “Good Guys In, Bad Guys Out” slogan of the Immigration Bureau, as well as elaborate presentations to the media featuring large posters bearing successful cases. He also rolled out the “No Tips” policy designed to crackdown on corruption within the Immigration Bureau.
The policy saw stickers and posters displayed at Immigration offices and border checkpoints nationwide informing foreigners not to offer ‘tips’ to officers. Announced in the Royal Gazette, it has been confirmed that Big Joke will be transferred to the position of a civil servant in the Prime Minister’s Office, effective immediately. It is understood the move is reserved for officials under ongoing investigation.
However, at the time of going to press no reasons have been made public for the sudden transfer of Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn and his removal from his role of head of the Immigration Bureau.