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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.

Red shirts call for release of detainees

Posted by arnon_k On October - 11 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Motor rally marks clash anniversary

Red shirt demonstrators have used a motor rally around Bangkok to call for the release of almost 300 protesters who have been arrested and detained under the emergency decree over the past six months.

About 1,000 red shirt members yesterday joined the rally to remember the April 10 clashes six months ago between red shirt demonstrators and government forces at Khok Wua intersection. Twenty-six people were killed and over 800 were injured in the clash.

Police arrested red shirt supporters on April 10 and many more in rioting on May 19 when the red shirt rally in Bangkok was brought to an end.

They were charged with breaching the emergency decree and with terrorism, said Chaiwat Trakarnratsanti, coordinator of the Progressive Democracy Group (PDG), which organised yesterday’s rally.

“We want the government to release all red shirt detainees immediately because they are not terrorists,” Mr Chaiwat said.

“They are innocent civilians who just wanted to express their political stance.”

The red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship set up camp in Bangkok’s streets from March 12 to May 19 to demand that the Abhisit Vejjajiva government dissolve the House and call a general election.

The protest turned violent a second time after government forces reclaimed the main demonstration site in the Ratchaprasong area on May 19, bringing an end to the 67-day rally.

Clashes over the period claimed 92 lives and left 1,400 people injured.

The red shirts have been gathering every Sunday in Bangkok and other provinces since to commemorate the clashes.

A woman in her 40s who supports the red shirts said yesterday she and her friends joined the weekly gatherings because the government was treating red shirt supporters unfairly.

State agencies have closed red shirt websites for alleged violations of the Computer Crime Act, she said.

The PDG, an alliance of businessmen and academics, said about 300 red shirt supporters were being held in prisons nationwide.

The group said it would organise activities and gatherings to demand justice for families of the red shirt victims and to call for the release of all red shirt detainees.

Hundreds of uniformed and plain-clothed police were deployed at the rally sites yesterday.

The red shirts gathered at Lumpini Park in the morning to make merit for those who died in the April-May clashes.

They later moved to nearby Ratchaprasong intersection, where the motor rally was launched.

The motor procession moved from Ratchaprasong to Pratunam, Din Daeng, the Victory Monument, Phetchaburi intersection, Phan Fa Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Avenue and finished at Khok Wua intersection.

Red shirt supporters lighted red candles and released lanterns into the sky to mourn those who died.

Traffic lanes around the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue were blocked for about an hour amid tight security.

Large crowds turned out.

Sombat Boonngarm-anong, another red shirt leader who organised the candle ceremony, demanded Prime Minister Abhisit apologise to relatives of red shirts who lost loved ones in the clashes.

“People must be held responsible for the violence,” Mr Sombat said.

FP: Thaksin is in “Top 5 Bad Exes”

Posted by arnon_k On October - 11 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Foreign Policy, an U.S. news website, presents a passage by Joshua E. Keating “Bad Exes” that arrange THAKSIN SHINAWATRA ex-prime minister of Thailand in its TOP 5 with other ex-leaders; Chancellor of Germany GERHARD SCHRÖDER, Prime minister of Spain JOSÉ MARÍA AZNAR, President of Nigeria OLESEGUN OBASANJO, President of the Philippines JOSEPH ESTRADA

Bad Exes

Most ex-presidents and former prime ministers devote their lives to making a positive difference in the world, or at least fade away into obscurity. Here are five former leaders who have done neither.

THAKSIN SHINAWATRA

Old job: Prime minister of Thailand, 2001-2006

New image: Since being deposed in a 2006 coup amid allegations of graft and human rights abuses, Thaksin has lived a peripatetic existence. The former billionaire businessman has served as a “special ambassador” for Nicaragua and an economic advisor in Cambodia, and was briefly owner of the Manchester City* soccer club. Thaksin reportedly lived under a false name in Germany for more than a year and has used illegally received passports from a number of other countries as well. He now makes his home in Dubai.

This year, Thaksin’s supporters, known as “red shirts,” occupied central Bangkok and stormed government buildings throughout the country in an effort to force the government to step down. Around 90 people were killed in the ensuing clashes between often-armed protesters and police before the two sides agreed to a cease-fire. Thai courts charged Thaksin in absentia for his role in fomenting the protests. Although Thaksin was vocally supportive of the red shirts — he once called into a rally and promised “to make all Thais rich” if his supporters were able to regain political power — he denies funding their efforts. He has also been convicted on additional corruption charges since going into exile, though he maintains that those charges are politically motivated.

Since the red shirts’ defeat, Thaksin has cut back on his media appearances and political activities. In August, he gave up his position with the Cambodian government, helping ease relations between the two countries.

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