The recalling of rank insignia and royal decorations from self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra made headlines over the past week. The Office of the Council of State is taking the matter seriously this time by advising the Secretariat of the Cabinet to revoke his rank of ‘Police Lieutenant-Colonel’ as well as 10 royal decorations received during his lifetime.
Looking back into the history of the Royal Thai Police, the removal of Mr Thaksin’s police rank was not the first case in Thailand.
The first commissioned police officer to be stripped of his rank was Police Major Luang Pisanusan (Sud Prateepjit) who was earlier sentenced by the Supreme Court to 11 years and four months in jail for embezzling money from the Metropolitan Police Bureau. Luang Pisanusan was stripped of his rank on 9 May 1929.
Later, more than 100 police officers with the ranks of sub-lieutenant and higher were stripped of their ranks, namely Brigadier Generals, Thom Jitwimon and Phad Tungkasamit, who assassinated four Cabinet members, political opponents of then-prime minister Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsongram. Both were given a death sentence by the Supreme Court which resulted in a royal order for their ranks to be recalled on 12 September 1962.
Back in 2004, the Royal Thai Police regulation on the stripping of police ranks was officially endorsed by Police Chief General Sant Sarutanond. Since legal enforcement, 62 commissioned police officers have been stripped of their ranks by an average of just over 12 officers annually.
Among those stripped of their ranks – 16 held lieutenant colonels, 12 were majors, 24 captains, nine lieutenants, and one sub-lieutenant. The Royal Thai Police’s regulation stipulates that the ranks of any individuals must be removed if found guilty of committing criminal offences, such as possession of narcotics with the intent to sell, malfeasance, dereliction of duty and murder. A charge like severe disciplinary action could cause officers to be dismissed from service. It includes absence without notice for more than 15 consecutive days, and embezzlement of state assets.
Based on the above-mentioned rules, the ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra must be unavoidably stripped of his ranks and all of his 10 royal decorations must be returned as well under the Prime Minister’s Office’s regulations.
Thaksin, who carries the rank of ‘Police Lieutenant Colonel’, faces a two-year-jail term for violating conflict of interest in the controversial Bangkok’s Ratchadapisek land purchase deal last year as ruled by the Supreme Court.
Reporter : Weeranuwat Saengsawang
News Date : 01 November 2009
REVOCATION OF THAKSIN’S HONOURS– The Nation