BANGKOK — The government has harshly criticised a top court official for lobbying the chief of the Royal Thai Police to grant a promotion to a policeman he knows personally.
The letter was written by the secretary general of the Administrative Court, Direkrit Jenkrongtham, and addressed to the Thai police chief, Pol.Gen. Adul Saengsingkaew.
In the letter, Mr. Direkrit asked the police chief to consider promoting another police officer, Pol.Lt.Col. Chutharet Yingyongdamrongsakul, from deputy commander to the position of station commander.
According to Isra News, which published the letter online, Pol.Lt.Col. Chutharet is a friend of the nephew of Mr. Direkrit's boss, the chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court, Hassawut Withiwiriyakul. It is also understood that Pol.Lt.Col. Chutharet and Mr. Direkrit know each other personally.
The image of the letter has been widely shared on social media, attracting many comments that brand Mr. Direkrit's action as a typical case of the favouritism that plagues Thai bureaucracy.
Mr. Direkrit defended the letter in an interview with Isra News, insisting that he has not violated any laws or bureaucratic regulations because his request was not made through an official channel.
In fact, Mr. Direkrit told Isra News that it is the media who is at risk of violating the law by publishing internal memos with the potential intention to defame or accuse an official like himself.
Mr. Direkrit added that it is important to have policemen who are close to court officials in high-ranking positions, for the sake of reliable security service.
"The request for policemen we trust, such as those who are our relatives or used to work with us … to be in a position to provide security is perfectly reasonable," Mr. Direkrit said.
"We need people we can trust in charge. We can't use just anyone. They may stab us in the back later on," Mr. Direk told Isra News. "This is not an interference or abuse of power."
He added, "As far as I know, many police officers do this on a regular basis. It's nothing illegal."
However, the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) has a different view.
"It warrants the strongest terms of criticism and condemnation," said CAPO spokesperson Pol.Lt.Col Anchulee Theerawongpaisan. “It’s an act that violates the ethics decreed under the Constitution at the hands of one of the highest leaders in the judicial branch."
The CAPO spokesperson also raised concern that the incident may lead the public to question the impartiality of the courts, especially when the Constitutional Court will soon rule on the status of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra following complaints that she unfairly removed a former head of the National Security Council.
"CAPO does not have the power to take any action in this case," Pol.Lt.Col Anchulee said. "But it is the task of CAPO to solve conflicts in society. Therefore, we demand the two officials in the Administrative Court reconsider their action,” Pol.Lt.Col Anchulee said in reference to Mr. Direkti and his superior, chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court Mr. Hassawut.
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