Prayut and Prawit targeted for violent attack

Prayut and Prawit targeted for violent attack

Senior officers talk to two suspects at the Royal Thai Police Office in Bangkok on Thursday during a press conference on the suspected
Senior officers talk to two suspects at the Royal Thai Police Office in Bangkok on Thursday during a press conference on the suspected "Khon Kaen Model" terror group. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon says he and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha were the target of people from Khon Kaen province who were planning an "incident", possibly connected to the "Bike for Dad" event on Dec 11.

He said police had gathered intelligence about plans for an incident that led to the arrest of suspects from Khon Kaen.

Gen Prawit, the defence minister, denied that reports on possible attacks against himself and the prime minister were created to divert the public's attention from alleged irregularities in the Rajabhakti Park project in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The park houses the giant statues of former Thai kings and stands in an army compound.

Gen Prawit said he was working in the public interest and would not increase his security measures. However he ordered tight security for the "Bike for Dad" event.

Prime Minister Prayut said someone in a movement opposed to the government had announced he was a member of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and a group linked to the "Khon Kaen Model", and had threatened action at a "big event". He was apparently referring to the Bike for Dad that Gen Prayut will join on Dec 11.

A former police officer and a civilian who were arrested by military officers in Khon Kaen province have been handed over to the Royal Thai Police Office for legal action.

They are Pol Sgt Maj Prathin Chanket, a 60-year-old former border patrol policeman, and Nathapol Nawanle, 26, who have been detained for seven days under an order of the National Council for Peace and Order before the handover at the Royal Thai Police Office on Thursday afternoon.

They have been charged with violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, and the Computer Act.

On hand to receive the two suspects were Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, the police chief, Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, a deputy police chief, Pol Maj Gen Akradej Pimolsri, the Crime Suppression Division commander, and Pol Maj Gen Chayapol Chatchaidej, commander of the Counter Crime Planning Division.

Pol Maj Gen Chayapol said that apart from Pol Sgt Maj Prathin and Mr Nathapol, there were seven other people involved in a plot to stage terrorist attacks and capture military and police camps as well as government installations in many northeastern provinces.

Pol Sgt Maj Prathin was alleged to be the leader of the plot and Mr Nathapol was responsible for acquiring weapons. The two had confessed to the crime, he said.

The seven others in the team who are still at large are Phitsanu Promsorn, 58, Wallop Boonchan, 33, Chatchai Sriwongsa, 24, Meechai Muangmontree, 49, Thanakrit Thongngernperm, 49, Veerachai Chaboonmee, 33, and Pahiran Kongkham, 44.

Pol Maj Gen Chayapol said these people were linked to a previous violent incident in Khon Kaen.

Pol Gen Chakthip said a movement to create violence had been in existence for some time, but the authorities had been following the activities of its members.

UDD chairman Jatuporn Prompan on Thursday denied his group planned any incidents. He said reports of attack plots were aimed at diverting attention from the Rajabhakti Park project.


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