Seripisut Temiyavet

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Police General Seripisut Temiyavet (Thai: เสรีพิศุทธ์ เตมียาเวส; rtgsSeriphisut Temiyawet, originally: Seri Temiyavet; Thai: เสรี เตมียเวส; born 3 September 1948) was Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police between February 2007 and April 2008. Appointed Police Commissioner of Thailand by a military junta, replacing Kowit Wattana, the Police Commissioner under deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Removed from office in April 2008 by the elected government of Samak Sundaravej under charges of corruption.[1] He was a police officer who gained a reputation from targeting mafia leaders like "Kamnan Poh" (Somchai Khunpluem) and "Por Pratunam" (Phaijit Thammarojphinij). The junta also appointed him Director of the Airports of Thailand, along with Chairman General Saprang Kalayanamitr.[2] He chairs the Friends of Seri Foundation, which was engaged in controversial loans to junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee and National Legislative Assembly member Thanaboon Jiranuwat. He is married to Phatsaweesiri Thepchatri Temiyavet (Thai: พัสวีศิริ เทพชาตรี เตมียาเวส) and has 3 children.

Education and early career[edit]

Seri graduated from the 8th class of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School and graduated in the 24th class of the Thai Police Cadet Academy. He took part in anti-communist operations in the Northeast, where he became close friends with Manoonkrit Roopkachorn. Because of this association, he was purged from the police after the NPKC Coup of 23 February 1992.[3] He was later rehabilitated and allowed back into the police force.

As Assistant Director of the 2nd Region Police, Seri was in charge of the 1994 arrest of "Kamnan Poh" in the Khao Mai Kaew land corruption case. In 2003, a court found the influential Kamnan Poh guilty and sentenced him to jail.[4]

Seri rose through the ranks of to become Inspector-General. Under the government of Thaksin Shinawatra, he was assigned to several high-profile corruption cases, including the longan subsidy scandal, the Bobae mafia case, and the Government Public Warehouse rice screening case.[citation needed][5][6] Seripisut came into conflict with Army officer Maj General Khattiya Sawasdipol of the Internal Security Operations Command while investigating the "Por Pratunam" gambling den of Phaijit Thammarojphinij. Seripisut filed a libel lawsuit against Khattiya, although Khattiya was acquitted in November 2006. After Seripisut was promoted to Police Commissioner General, Khattiya filed a Bt600million defamation suit against him.[7][8]

Police Commissioner General[edit]

On 5 February 2007, Seripisut was appointed Police Commissioner General by the military junta that had overthrown the government of Thaksin Shinawatra on 19 September 2006. He replaced Kowit Wattana, who had served as Police Commissioner General under the Thaksin government. There was great speculation about the motivation behind the replacement, as Kowit had earlier arrested several military personnel for alleged involvement in the 2006 Bangkok New Year's Eve bombings.

Purging of the police force[edit]

In his first staff reshuffle, Seripisut transferred Metropolitan Police Commissioner Viroj Chantarangsi to the provinces in the Lower North. Those close to former Commissioner Kowit Wattana and deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra were transferred to inactive posts. At the same time, he promoted police officers with close connections to him to powerful posts. Viroj, a classmate of Kowit, was replaced by Adisorn Nonsi, a former close aid of Seripisut. Pol Lt-Gen Thawornsak Thepchatree, an elder brother of Seripisuth's wife, was appointed adviser to the National Police Office. Pol Lt-Gen Jettanakorn Napeetaphat, who is married to the sister of Prime Minister Surayud's wife, replacing Pol Lt-Gen Adul Saengsingkaew in dealing with the South Thailand insurgency as Region 9 Commissioner.[9]

Criticism of Prem Tinsulanonda[edit]

Seripisut came under fire for his role in a petition to remove General Prem Tinsulanonda from his leadership of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Privy Council. Police Special Branch Commander Lt-General Theeradech Rodpho-thong refused to file charges of lèse majesté against activists who launched a petition, claiming that the law only applied to members of the royal family.[10] Two days later, he was demoted by Seripisut.[11]

Relationship with the junta[edit]

Seripisut often sided with the Council for National Security (CNS) rather than his own staff. After numerous bombs were exploded simultaneously on 27 May 2007 in Haad Yai, the police Special Branch claimed it was confident that the explosions were linked to the southern insurgency. The Special branch cited intelligence reports from two days before the blasts warning that two youngsters from the southern provinces were sneaking explosive devices into Songkhla. However, the CNS spokesperson claimed that there was reason to believe that the bombs were set off by people who were losing political power, a common euphemism for the deposed government of Thaksin Shinawatra. Seripisut agreed with the CNS.[12]

Junta critic Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol was convicted for defaming and sentenced to jail for four months in jail after he criticised Seripisut his crackdown on gambling dens.[13]

Friends of Seri Foundation controversy[edit]

Seripisut is the Chairman of the Friends of Seri Foundation and involved in controversial loans made to businessman and junta-associate Thanaboon Jiranuwat. Thanaboon's construction business was losing money, and he received an 18% interest-rate loan from Seripisut's foundation in September 1996. Thanaboon wrote 14 cheques worth 300,000 baht each to the foundation as repayment. Thanaboon's banks returned the cheques unpaid, and Seripisut sued Thanaboon. Thanaboon was acquitted by the Criminal Court but convicted on appeal. He later appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing the loan agreement violated the foundation's objectives and regulations, and that the interest rate was above Bank of Thailand limits. On 8 February 2007, the Supreme Court upheld Thanaboon's conviction in which Thanaboon was sentenced to 40 months in jail.[14]

Kuehne and Nagel Tax Evasion controversy[edit]

On 8 March 2007, Akbar Khan submitted a request to investigate alleged tax evasion by Kühne + Nagel to Seripisut in his office. Two weeks later, Seripisut's secretaries claimed that the request was lost. The request was later resubmitted to Seripisut's deputies. Khan claimed that the deputies noted that the case was not worthy of investigation. When questioned about the matter by Khan in public, Seripisut said he could not recall meeting with him, but promised to follow up on the matter.[15]

Removal from Office[edit]

Seripisut was removed from office in April 2008 by the elected government of Samak Sundaravej under charges of corruption.[1] His supporters, however, claim that these charges are put-up jobs to punish him for prosecuting many cases against the militarily deposed former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

See also[edit]


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