The alleged assassination plot against ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is likely to have been manufactured to give the ex-premier a credible excuse not to visit Tachilek, intelligence analysts said yesterday.
According to a military intelligence source, Thaksin had no intention of visiting Tachilek, a border town opposite Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district.
As a fugitive with an arrest warrant out on him, his presence would increase pressure on the Yingluck administration.
By fabricating the death threat, Thaksin has a plausible excuse to "cancel" his plan without upsetting thousands of red-shirt supporters who were preparing to meet him, the source said.
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Noppadon Pattama, Thaksin's close aide, confirmed yesterday the former prime minister's visit to Tachilek on Friday and Saturday has been cancelled due to security concerns. But Thaksin's meeting with Myanmar president Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw tomorrow will go ahead before he leaves the country the same day. According to the military source, the assassination story can also be used to incriminate the ammart, or elite, who oppose Thaksin.
Meanwhile, deputy army spokesman Col Winthai Suwari said the army is unaware of any reports linking war weapons seized in Tachilek and Mae Sot in the past few days with the alleged plot to assassinate Thaksin while on his visit.
He said Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and the National Security Council (NSC) could have obtained their information from an undisclosed source which led them to believe a plot existed. NSC secretary-general Paradorn Pattanathabutr said authorities are waiting for details of the investigation into the arms seizure by Myanmar officials.
He denied allegations the NSC was supplying information to back the claims of Thaksin's son, Panthongtae Shinawatra, who revealed the alleged plot.
Mr Panthongtae criticised Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat's intelligence officials after the minister denied any links between the arms seizure in Tachilek and the alleged attempt on Thaksin's life.
He posted a picture on Facebook showing the weapons, including three RPG grenades, seized from a house near the Regina Hotel and Golf Club where Thaksin was to have stayed.
According to Mr Panthongtae, weapons experts have told him they could be used to attack the hotel.
ACM Sukumpol again dismissed any connection between the arms seizure and the alleged plot against Thaksin.
"If someone insists there is such a link, that is their opinion. But we all know what the truth is," he said.
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Writer: Wassana Nanuam & Aekarach Sattaburuth