BANGKOK — Two senior police officers accused of insulting the monarchy back in 2015 were stripped of their royal decorations by a palace order Wednesday.
An announcement published in the Royal Government Gazette said Lt. Col. Thammawat Hiranyalekha and Col. Pairot Rojanakachorn lost both of their police ranks and any decorations they received from His Majesty the King. The order cited the court’s arrest warrants on the two men for royal defamation and falsely claiming ties to the monarchy for personal gains.
Another police officer, Lt. Col. Thanabat Prasertwit, former deputy chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division, was also said to have conducted similar wrongdoings and subsequently stripped of his royal decorations in the same annoucement.
Pairot, who served as a commander of the Crime Suppression Division, and his deputy Thammawat were charged in 2015 after police launched a crackdown on a massive criminal ring in which nearly 30 people were arrested for profiteering from their royal connections.
The crackdown was made public on Oct. 18, 2015. Two people who were arrested on the onset of the investigation, palace aide and famous astrologer Suriyan Sujaritpalawong and Prakrom Warunprapha, an officer at the Technology Crime Suppression Division, later died in custody.
Pairot, Thammawat, and Thanabat were the close aides of Prakrom, whom police said was the mastermind behind the crime ring. They resigned from the police force on Nov. 15, 2015, shortly before arrest warrants were issued for them.
They are believed to have fled overseas ever since.
Due to strict enforcement of royal defamation laws, Khaosod English cannot publish the full details of the case.
Seven other police officers were also stripped of their ranks in Wednesday’s palace announcement for unrelated misconduct and court cases.