His Majesty the King has approved the annual reshuffle of the three armed forces involving altogether 935 officers with General Apirat Kongsompong, assistant army commander-in-chief, being appointed new army commander-in-chief.
Other highlights of this year’s military reshuffle include:
General Nath Intharacharoen, deputy permanent secretary of defence, is permanent secretary of defence; General Pornpipat Benyasri, army chief-of-staff, is supreme commander of the three armed forces; Admiral Luechai Rutdit, deputy commander-in-chief of the navy, is navy commander-in-chief; Air Chief Marshal Chaipruek Didyasarin, assistant commander-in-chief of the air force, is air force commander-in-chief.
The appointment of General Apirat Kongsompong as the new army commander-in-chief does not come as a surprise as this was speculated weeks before the royal announcement. He will succeed General Chalermchai Sitthisart who is due to retire at the end of this month.
General Apirat was put under the spotlight when he was assigned by the government to crack down on mafia-type figures controlling motor-cycle taxies in Bangkok and set a new order on this transport service. He was also put in charge of resolving the problem of overpriced lottery tickets by getting rid of the so-called “five tigers” in lottery distribution system.
General Apirat belongs to the Wongthenwan clique, not the Burapha Payak clique led by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan. He is one of the most trusted lieutenants of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.