‘Big Joke’ Prays to Return to Police Duty

Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn prays July 27, 2020 at Wat Bueng Kradan in Phitsanulok city.

PHITSANULOK — A former police commander who has largely disappeared from the public eye expressed his wish to return to the force. 

Ex-cop Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn participated in a two-hour ritual at Wat Bueng Kradan in Phitsanulok city Monday, where he prayed and wished to return to police work as soon as possible. Maj. Gen. Surachate, once a rising star in the ranks, was abruptly removed from duty in 2019.

At the temple, Surachate prayed to various Buddha images as well as statues of King Naresuan, King Ekathotsarot, and Lady Suphankanlaya. He also released birds, fish, and turtles at the temple to make merit. 

Surachate was known for his crackdown on foreigner visa overstays and involvement in high profile criminal investigations. 

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Although many expected him to rise to the rank of police commissioner, Surachate was removed from the force and transferred to an obscure civilian post in April 2019. He has rarely made media appearances since, but speculation over his removal was rife.  

He made news earlier this year, when a drive-by shooting appeared to target him in Bangkok. Surachate suggested the attack was linked to his refusal to sign on a multi-billion baht biometric project at the airport due to financial irregularity. 

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But the ex-cop soon went back into silence after the government publicly warned him not to bring “disgrace” to the bureaucracy; Surachate and his family also left for India, reportedly for meditation. 

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