Narathiwat Provincial Police Commander Major Geneneral Chote Chawanwiwat is Phuket's new Police Commander, it was announced on Wednesday. Present Commander Chonasit Wattanavrangkul is to be Commissioner of Inspection Division 9, Office of the Inspector General, in Bangkok.
PHUKET: Phuket Police Commander Major General Chonsit Wadhnawarangkuh is being transferred off Phuket next Wednesday after just eight months in the key role.
A replacement has yet to be announced but a senior officer from Narathiwat province, in the deep south trouble zone, is favored to replace him.
October usually marks the time of the year when senior police around Thailand are transferred. The major general's move comes unexpectedly early.
His eight month in the role is also uncharacteristic. Normally, Phuket provincial commanders hold the position for two years or longer.
Phuket is not an easy assignment for the top cop.
Soon after Major General Chonsit arrived, he had to deal with the Phuket City axe attack at an after-hours pub on Sripanwa resort manager Vorasit ''Wan'' Issara, who was with Hollywood film star Jeremy Renner.
Phuket's reputation as a safe destination for tourists suffered then, and it was to suffer again later in the year.
Deeper into January, journalist Wisut ''Ae'' Tangwittayaporn was gunned down in daylight in Phuket's main thoroughfare. A second assassination connected to a land dispute quickly followed.
Three Australian tourists were injured in an attack by security guards insdie a nightclub in Patong, with international envoys continuing to ask for jet-ski scams and tuk-tuk thuggery to be addressed.
In March, Bangkok police found a body in a trash bin at the home of Norwegian Stein Dokset, and the commander was again called upon to explain what happened to the media.
The discovery of underage personnel still working in Phuket pubs forced Commander Chonsit to change station superintendents. The failure of venues to close on time resurfaced last week when a blaze at the Tiger Disco killed four patrons.
In June, Australian tourist and travel agent Michelle Smith was knifed to death in a botched bag snatch. Commander Chonsit oversaw the arrest of the perpetrators and their speedy sentencing.
Two tsunami alerts and an earthquake on Phuket also required quick police action. Commander Chonsit also oversaw the still-controversial Stevie Bamford ''cry rape'' case.
Major General Chonsit's wife Gobkan - nickname ''Nong'' - is a notable member of high society in Bangkok. A woman of remarkable achievement in her own right, her family owns the capital's MBK retail outlet.