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Methi wants Jatuporn’s bail withdrawn

Posted by arnon_k On October - 12 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Former actor and red-shirt united front member Methi Amornvuthikul has asked the Department or Special Investigation to withdraw bail for United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leader Jatuporn Prompan.

Mr Methi called on DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit on Tuesday morning and made the request, saying Mr Jatuporn had made a threaterning call to him, who is now under a witnesses protection programme, about his being a witness in a terrorism case against UDD leaders.

He also told Mr Tharit some red-shirt leaders had siphoned about 68 million baht donated by UDD supporters and fled to Malaysia.

Mr Tharit said Mr Methi told him it was Mr Jatuporn who made a threatening call to him, saying the voice was very familiar to him. Mr Methi also showed him Mr Jatuporn’s telephone number which appeared on his mobile phone.

Although being kept as a witness, Mr Methi, who was arrested on charges of illegally having war weapons for official use in his possession, is allowed to use the telephone as usual without being bugged with DSI officials, Mr Tharit said.

Asked whether the statement given by Mr Methis would be used to withdraw bail for Mr Jatuporn, the DSI chief said the information needed to be verified. DSI officials had recorded Mr Methi’s statement, Mr Tharit said.

Mr Jatuporn is one of the UDD leaders charged with terrorism. However, he has been freed on bail using his parliamentary immunity.

Mr Tharit said the information on the alleged theft of the donation money was a personal matter and had nothing to do with the DSI.

Asked to comment on Cambodia’s statement that it had never allowed the red shirts to use its military camp for arms training, Mr Tharit said this matter would be discussed at today’s meeting of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situations (CRES) to decide if the Foreign Ministry should be informed and seek explanation from the neighbouring country.

PM, party members listed to testify in funding trial

Posted by arnon_k On October - 12 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and other senior Democrats will be the final witnesses next Monday in the 29 million baht political party development fund case being heard in the Constitution Court.

The court will retire after the final hearing with the fate of the Democrat Party and its executives, including Mr Abhisit, hanging in the balance. It is expected to return a verdict by the end of next month, a Democrat source said.

Also set to testify next Monday along with Mr Abhisit, the party deputy leader when the party development fund was allocated, are Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga and Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, the science and technology minister.

A Democrat witness told the court yesterday there were no legal grounds to dissolve the party.

Khomsan Phokhong, a law lecturer at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University and a drafter of the 2007 constitution, said the allegations of the funds being misspent should have come under the 1998 Political Party Act rather than the 2007 Political Party Act.

Mr Khomsan said the allegations covered the years 2004 and 2005 when the 1998 Political Party Act was in effect.

He said under the 1998 Political Party Act, the political party registrar – who is also the chairman of the Election Commission – had the authority to order the dissolution of a political party.

He said the registrar ruled in 2009 not to dissolve the Democrat Party. The registrar’s decision to reconsider the case and forward it to the EC for consideration in March and again in April this year based on the 2007 Political Party Act should be considered inappropriate.

The EC felt it had a case to dissolve the party and forwarded its resolution to the Constitution Court.

The Democrat Party would have faced dissolution under the 1998 Political Party Act but its executives would not be banned from politics. The 2007 version provides for the executives involved in any breaches to be banned from holding political office for five years.

Mr Khomsan told the court he did not have close connections with any member of the Democrat Party.

Another witness, Issara Limsiriwong, who headed the EC subcommittee which investigated the case, said the panel recommended three times to the EC that the Democrat Party should not be dissolved.

Chiang Mai 11 ‘claim’ Siem Reap training

Posted by arnon_k On October - 12 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Cambodia denies DSI story of guerrilla camp

Eleven people arrested in a raid on a resort in Chiang Mai and suspected of planning acts of terror claim they and 28 other individuals underwent weapons training in Siem Reap, the Department of Special Investigation says.

The group were arrested on Oct 2 at Doi Ku Fah resort in Mae On subdistrict.

DSI investigator Phayao Thongsen said a plot to assassinate high-profile figures, including former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, was among the group’s alleged missions.

Pol Lt Col Phayao said investigators had evidence of phone calls made between the group in Chiang Mai and red shirt community radio operators in Cambodia.

The Cambodian government yesterday denied the group had received arms training from its soldiers.

“Our constitution does not allow anyone to do that sort of thing [on Cambodian soil]. Nobody is allowed to do any such stupid thing in Cambodia,” said Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan.

“So I think this accusation is a made-up story to blame Cambodia, and is also [part of the] campaign against the red shirts, using Cambodia as a springboard for Thai local politics.”

Pol Lt Col Phayao said the 11 suspects had provided investigators with useful information. They were being held without charge under the witness protection programme.

He alleged the group had confessed they joined the red shirt protests led by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and had witnessed clashes between protesters and government forces.

The investigator also alleged they were persuaded after the Bangkok protests by a group called Rak Chiang Mai 51, led by Kanyaphak Maneechak or “DJ Orm”, to join a faction planning to undergo arms training in Cambodia.

The 39 people were sent to Cambodia via several routes, bypassing all immigration checkpoints.

The 11 suspects in custody claimed they had met several red shirt leaders in Siem Reap, Pol Lt Col Phayao said.

Training took three weeks, he said. They were shown anti-monarchy videos during the first week, the second week involved lessons in general weapons knowledge, while the final week involved actual hands-on use of weapons, the investigator said.

They reportedly received 20,000 baht in cash upon completing the training, after which 35 of them returned to Thailand through Surin on Aug 16. Four others remained in Cambodia to act as bodyguards for red shirt leader Arisman Pongruangrong, he said.

The group of 11 presently in custody were summoned to the Chiang Mai resort to prepare for their missions. They were at the resort for more than a month prior to their arrest.

One of the 11 suspects, Kittichai Chansawat, reportedly could not stand the tough regimen at the resort and ran away, asking local people to bring him to the police, which led to the arrest of the other 10 suspects at the resort, Pol Lt Col Phayao said. Police reported earlier that a village headman had thought Mr Kittichai was acting strangely when he asked for directions and so he had called the police.

Investigators said they had seized detailed maps of planned routes to the homes of important people, including Mr Suthep.

The other members of the group alleged to have trained in Cambodia are suspected to have spread out to several provinces including Lop Buri, Bangkok, Chon Buri and Saraburi.

Noppadon defends Thaksin over article

Posted by arnon_k On October - 11 - 2010 1 COMMENT

Foreign media were getting wrong information about ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra after he was listed among the world’s worst former leaders in a US magazine, according to Thaksin’s legal adviser Noppadon Pattama.

US magazine Foreign Policy has listed Thaksin among a group of “Bad Exes” – former government leaders known internationally for scandals ranging from policy blunders to corruption.

Thaksin has been placed in the same league as former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, Nigeria’s ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo and former Philippine leader Joseph Estrada.

Mr Noppadon said the claim that Thaksin was holding false passports was untrue.

“If anyone can prove that Thaksin uses fake passports, the person will receive a million baht of prize money for one fake passport.

“Thaksin has a distinctive face and people would recognise him wherever he goes. It is not possible for him to use a ‘Thakky’ as his name,” the legal advisor said.

He said Thaksin had travelled to Germany briefly but it was in response to the local government’s invitation. Thaksin used passports of Montenegro and Nicaragua.

He said the article did not represent facts and did not cite information about Thaksin’s beneficial policies like the scholarships for Thai students and the 30-baht health scheme.

Mr Noppadon said no legal action will be taken against the author of this article as he was far away from the facts.

“I could not tell whether the article is politically motivated but I’m aware that there is an important Thai politician in Washington,” he added.

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