Abhisit still keen to reshuffle police

13 08 2009

About a week ago, PPT blogged that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban had backed off meddling in the police reshuffle and promotions, especially as there are claims over the legality of political meddling.

Abhisit, perhaps prompted by the continuing push from PAD leader Sonthi Limthongkul, has continued the search for loyalty (see here). He has pushed Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan out of his role again, following that general’s early return from leave, while again making Police General Wichien Potposri acting police chief.

Patcharawat has, according to The Nation (13 August 2009: “Pol Gen Vichien back in the driver’s seat”) been sent to the south, “in charge of overseeing security in the restive South and ensuring safety an upcoming Asean meeting.”

Wichien, sounding like a judge in a lese majeste trial, “vowed to ensure justice in the annual police reshuffle during [yet another] Police Commission meeting.” Whether the more “yellow” Democrat Party leaders and PAD can get their way remains to be seen, but there seems a determination to intervene against “Thaksin supporters” in the police senior levels and to restructure the police in ways that sidelines “the enemy.”

Meanwhile, Abhisit actually had the audacity to deny “allegations of interfering in the annual police reshuffle, saying he had never tampered with individual appointments and only wanted make sure there were no legal violations.”

Against that, the Bangkok Post (13 August 2009: “Big revision tipped for police list”) seems less sure, predicting “Big changes are expected when the Police Commission meets today to vet a proposed reshuffle list involving officers from the level of deputy superintendent on down…”. Apparently having Patcharawat out of the way assists in making the changes.

Confirming the continuing pressure from PAD, Abhsiit claimed: “I’m not involved in the police reshuffle. What I’m doing is ensuring that the Sondhi case investigation can go ahead…”. Winning control of the police remains important for Abhisit and PAD.



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