BANGKOK — Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan said on Tuesday there was nothing illegal about a decision by the police commissioner to promote his own son to a senior police rank despite not meeting one of the criteria.
Gen. Prawit said there were grounds for exception in the case of Capt. Chanan Chaijinda, a son of police chief Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda. Chanan was recently promoted to a commander in a border police unit despite serving just three years as a deputy inspector, far below the required period of seven years.
Police officials said Chanan was exempted because he received overseas training programs and had exceptional knowledge that would benefit the force.
“They can do that, it’s supported by regulations,” Prawit said.
When a reporter asked whether it’s appropriate for a police commissioner to approve fast-tracking his own son, Prawit shot back, “Do you love your son, too? Do you?”
Recent media reports said some police officers are angered by an April 2019 order that promoted Chanan to the rank of a commander in the Border Police’s air support unit. Chanan previously served as a deputy inspector for three years; a common police practice held it that he must hold the rank for at least seven years before being considered for a promotion.
The news once again ignited complaints of nepotism and privileged treatment among the police force.
Speaking at a Tuesday news conference, police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen rejected the accusation, saying the police command had the authority to grant promotion to individuals who show talents and valuable knowledge.
Krissana said Chanan qualified for the exemption because he underwent training multiple training programs, including anti-terrorism and parachuting courses. Chanan also completed a sniper course in Israel and received training from the FBI in the United States, according to the spokesman.
“To speak frankly, the police commissioner could have appointed him to any position if he really did whatever he wanted as the media alleged,” Krissana said. “He could have sent him somewhere comfortable. But why is no one asking why [Chanan] was sent to the Border Police.”
He also questioned why the issue only surfaced now, nearly a year after the promotion was approved by Gen. Chakthip in April 2019.