Region 8 Police Commander Lt Gen Kitrat Panpetch issued the order discharging Sompong from the Royal Thai Police yesterday (Aug 19).
The National Anti-Corruption Commission will send a formal recommendation to the Office of the Attorney General to proceed with criminal charges, the order noted.
The recommendation follows Sompong being found falsely receiving funds dedicated as allowances for officers performing extra duties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic while he was serving as Chief of the Thung Song Police in Nakhon Sri Thammarat. The order did not mark when Sompong was fulfilling that position.
“The National Anti‑Corruption Commission has resolved to point out that when being in the position of Thung Song Police Chief, Col Sompong wrongfully exercised his duties under the Section 157 of the Criminal Code by deducting allowances from the COVID-19 budget of the Thung Song Police Station,” the order said.
“Thung Song Police Station received B6,046,299 from the Thai Royal Police to be spent on working and providing police officers allowances. The amount of money was divided into three parts ‒ B5,478,300 for officers’ allowances, B225,999 for COVID-19 protective equipment and B342,000 for petrol costs,” the order explained.
“According to the Royal Thai Police, officers received an allowance of B60 per hour when they were assigned to work outside their station or police box. The allowance was provided depending on the length of time worked, but not more than seven hours per day ‒ for both on official working days and on holidays,” Lt Gen Kitrat explained in his dismissal.
“However, Col Sompong ordered all officers at Thung Song Police Station who received allowances in excess of B15,000 baht to donate the extra money back to the Thung Song Police Station so it could be allocated to officers who received less funds ‘for equality and unity’ [sic],” he said.
“The leftover money from the allocations was to be kept as a central fund,” he added.
“At that time, many police officers disagreed, but no one argued or opposed the order, and if any police officer did not agree with the order they were to be transferred or assigned duties to be made an example of,” Lt Gen Kitrat continued.
Sompong has 30 days to appeal his dismissal, and the Appeals Tribunal has 90 days from receiving the appeal to reply whether or not the appeal had been accepted, he added.
Of note, Lt Gen Kitrat in the order said that the provision for government officers found guilty of corruption charges to face double the penalty would not apply for Sompong, despite that provision being specifically coded in law.
Sompong served as Phuket City Police Chief from 2018-19. He had previously served as Thalang Police Chief from 2016 into 2017, a position he gained after replacing Lt Col Chanucharn Cholsuwat following the Thalang riots in Oct 2015.
Of note, Sompong was already very familiar with police in Nakhon Sri Thammarat province, as he served as Chief of the Nakhon Sri Thammarat City Police in 2013.