Special Branch chief demoted in reshuffle
Special Branch commander Lt-General Theeradech Rodpho-thong was yesterday transferred to an inspector-general post which carries lesser significance.
The order came just two days after his legal interpretation that the law on lese majeste does not cover Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda.
A Police Commission order, which also appointed six other inspector-generals, did not specify the reasons behind Theeradech's move. However, other officers were also transferred from more significant posts to inspector-general.
Acting police chief Seripisut Temivavej, who ordered the reshuffle and chaired the meeting yesterday, declined to comment on his choice of Theeradech for inspector-general, or whether it stemmed from his legal interpretation.
Meanwhile, the police have rejected an appeal to charge activists - who launched a website to collect signatures in a bid to oust Prem - with insulting the monarchy, after Theeradech said on Monday that the law on lese majeste did not cover the Privy Council president, an appointment made by His Majesty the King.
Theeradech said the law on lese majeste aimed to protect only members of the royal family from being insulted. He said the website www.tmctoday.com contained a signature campaign appealing to His Majesty to dismiss Prem, but definitely no message that insulted the royal family.
Wrongdoers face possible jail terms from three to 15 years.
Among six other inspectors-general who previously held significant posts are Lt-General Pratya Sutthapreeda, commander of Provincial Police Bureau 1; Maj-General Kamol Kaewsuwan, a deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau chief; and Prachin Waree, a deputy commander of the police's information and communication technology bureau.