Thaksin shortens Myanmar trip
- Published: 5/11/2012 at 03:43 PM
- Online news:
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has cancelled his coming trip to Tachilek on Friday and Saturday, but will still meet Myanmar President Thein Sein on Thursday when he visits Nay Pyi Taw, Thaksin's close associates said on Monday.
According to his close associates, including key members of the Pheu Thai Party and the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the fugitive former premier will not travel to the border town of Tachilek, opposite Mae Sai, due to safety concerns.
Jatuporn Prompan, a red-shirt core member, said he had not been informed about the cancellation of Thaksin's visit to Tachilek but said security there might not be 100%.
"Thaksin will likely meet President Thein Sein because it is an official visit and the Myanmar government will be able to ensure his safety," Mr Jatuporn said.
Previously, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and his son Panthongthae "Oak" Shinawatra said there was a plot to assassinate him.
Mr Chalerm said a Myanmar man who was arrested on Sunday in Tak province by Thai authorities for transporting heavy firearms from the Thai border confessed that there was a plot to kill Thaksin during merit-making in Tachilek on Saturday.
"The suspect has revealed the name of the mastermind behind the assassination attempt but I won't say whether the person is an army general as reports speculated.
"I'm pretty sure that the person gave the assassination order from Thailand and had already paid some money for it to happen," said the deputy premier in charge of national security.
He said the mastermind was not involved with "plans to topple the government" but the person had a plan to directly harm Thaksin.
Although the Karen suspect later recanted his testimony, Thai police had been working closely with Myanmar police on security issues, Mr Chalerm added.
Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (L) and his son Panthongtae Shinawatra (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Mr Panthongthae posted on his Facebook page that he was worried about his father's safety.
Thaksin's only son said that during his father's time as prime minister he was responsible for the arrest of many drug dealers, which put him on bad terms with local crime lords and gangs.
Tachilek was categorised by the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB ) as a red zone swarming with minority groups linked with drug dealers and wanted men who had fled Thailand.
"My father is a man who is not scared of death," he said. "I would like to say that even though you [father] are not scared, your three children are deeply concern about your safety."
Mr Panthongthae said that despite his personal feelings, Thaksin showed signs of hesitation when he mentioned the possibility of participants at the meetings being injured.
However, his father's decision to visit Myanmar was based on the consideration he has for people organising the event and the individuals who had already made plans to visit him.
Democrat Party list MP Ong-Art Klampaiboon said Mr Panthongtae needed to be more careful when posting such messages about a rumoured assassination plot against his father. It was quite normal for Thai authorities to search for, and seize, weapons along the border.
Previously, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called on the national police chief, Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, to seek the extradition of Thaksin if he was certain that the fugitive politician would visit Myanmar.
"This is a case to prove whether the police chief as well as the prime minister [Yingluck Shinawatra] are performing their duties and I hope there won't be any conflicts of interest," Mr Abhisit said.
Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, leader of the anti-government Pitak Siam group, said Mr Panthongtae was likely trying to get people to feel for Thaksin by saying that the confiscated weapons and ammunition in Tak would have been used to kill his father.
"How can Thai people transport the weapons because security along the Myanmar border is very tight," said Gen Boonlert, alias Seh Ai.
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