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Metropolitan top cop shifted to inactive post ...PAD rally fiasco linked to lightning transfer

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National police chief Priewpan Damapong yesterday ordered the lightning transfer of Metropolitan Police Bureau police chief Winai Thongsong to an inactive post.

Winai: ‘The transfer may be my good luck’

Pol Gen Priewpan did not give a reason for the abrupt transfer but it was believed to relate to the rally of the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) against the government-backed reconciliation bills.

Pol Lt Gen Winai will be at his inactive post at the Royal Thai Police for 30 days, while Khamronwit Thoopkrachang will serve as acting Metropolitan Police chief. Pol Maj Gen Khamronwit is currently acting chief of Provincial Police Region 1.

Pol Lt Gen Winai said yesterday he had acknowledged the order but he did not know the reason for the decision.

"I think the police chief had a good reason for the decision and I respected it since I'm the one who has winai [discipline]," Pol Lt Gen Winai said.

"Who knows, the transfer may be my good luck."

Some police officers speculated that the move followed Pol Lt Gen Winai's failure to control PAD protesters yesterday, letting them block all entrances to parliament and prevent Pheu Thai MPs entering the premises, resulting in the cancellation of the House meeting on the reconciliation bill due to an insufficient number of MPs.

However, some other police believe the transfer was more likely aimed at protecting Pol Lt Gen Winai from possible ramifications over the manner in which he dealt with the PAD protesters.

Pol Lt Gen Winai is married to the niece of Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's ex-wife.

It is understood the transfer may be aimed at protecting him from potential problems if clashes between protesters and police arise.

Pol Maj Gen Khamronwit is considered to be a "hardline commander".

He is expected to keep the PAD rallygoers under control to pave the way for MPs to hold a meeting in parliament next week.

House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranon is expected to put the reconciliation bill up for deliberation again next week.

About 7pm last night, Pol Maj Gen Khamronwit arrived at the Metropolitan Police Bureau to meet Pol Lt Gen Winai for about one hour. The two police generals reportedly talked about measures to deal with the protesters.

After the meeting, Pol Lt Gen Winai and Pol Maj Gen Khamronwit held a joint press conference.

Pol Maj Gen Khamronwit said he would serve as the acting Metropolitan police chief for 30 days, so he would follow Pol Lt Gen Winai's policy, which had been proven to be effective in keeping order.

Regarding his plans to deal with the yellow shirts' rally next week, Pol Maj Gen Khamronwit said the matter was "sensitive" because it involved different political opinions.

"Political rallies need to be dealt with carefully," he said.

Pol Lt Gen Winai said he and Maj Gen Khamronwit had been working closely and he was willing to help the acting city police chief in any matter that arose.

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Guest Friday, 25 April 2014

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