Hundreds of police will be deployed to ensure safety today when former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban report to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to hear murder charges.
DSI director-general Tarit Pengdith said yesterday he has asked the Metropolitan Police Bureau to provide three companies of police or about 400 police to ensure safety at the DSI.
Mr Tarit said the DSI has received information that two groups of people _ the red shirts, who want Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep to be detained after hearing the murder charges, and supporters of the two Democrats _ would turn up at its head office.
Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep are scheduled to report to the DSI at 1pm today on Chaeng Watthana Road.
The charges to be laid against them are in connection with the death during the 2010 street protests of a 44-year-old taxi driver, Phan Khamkong.
Phan was shot dead by soldiers under the now-defunct Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) command structure during the protests staged by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).
Mr Abhisit was the prime minister at the time and Mr Suthep was the director of the CRES.
Mr Tarit said officials would question Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep for about three hours.
A number of red shirts representing 12 community radio stations turned up at the DSI office yesterday and presented flowers to Mr Tarit in a gesture of support.
Deputy city police chief Pol Maj Gen Parinya Jansuriya said he was confident the yellow and red shirts would not clash as they did at the Crime Suppression Division's (CSD) headquarters previously.
A sufficient number of police would be on hand to deal with the protesters and unlike the CSD, the DSI has more entrances and exits, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung echoed Pol Maj Gen Parinya's assurance, saying he had received a report that only a small number of red shirts would turn up in a symbolic move and they would not confront their yellow-shirt counterparts.
It would depend on the DSI's judgement whether Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep would be detained or released after reporting to the DSI to acknowledge the charges against them, Mr Chalerm said.
"This is not a political issue but a criminal case," he said.
Mr Abhisit, meanwhile, declined to say how he would defend himself against the allegations. He said he would have to listen to the DSI as to what charges it would actually press against him. He insisted that he would tell the truth.
Mr Abhisit, however, accused the DSI of abusing its authority in bringing the case against him, saying it was strange that Mr Tarit himself had served as a member of the CRES, which was set up to deal with the red-shirt protests.
Despite the fact that Mr Tarit should also bear responsibility for the CRES's orders, he was the same person who signed to approve the investigation into him, Mr Abhisit said.
Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the Pheu Thai Party had attempted to distort Mr Abhisit's recent interview with the BBC to make it sound as if he had ordered the security forces to use live bullets against the protesters during the unrest.
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said the CRES did not issue any order to kill anyone but to use weapons against armed people who had also killed and injured a certain number of soldiers during the anti-government rallies.
Gen Prayuth said he would rather wait and see how the court ruled in this case than make any further comment.
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Writer: King-Oua Laohong, Patsara Jikkham & Wassana Nanuam