About-turn on southern bombing suspects

About-turn on southern bombing suspects

Authorities show 15 anti-government suspects at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on Friday. (Photo by Seksan Rojjanametakun)
Authorities show 15 anti-government suspects at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on Friday. (Photo by Seksan Rojjanametakun)

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon denied earlier reports of 17 detained southern bombing suspects, saying they were involved in other activities against his National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The 17 people for whom police sought arrest warrants, described by police as having "communist" leanings, were involved in long-standing activities against the NCPO and the government. They were the only group behind such activities, Gen Prawit said.

Authorities' action against the suspects had been continuing for a long period and had nothing to do with the multiple bombings and arson attacks in seven southern and central provinces late last week, he said.

According to earlier reports, the 17 consisted of 13 men and four women. Six of them were anti-coup movement leaders and three of them were police officers. They had been recently detained at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok and two were later freed.

Called "hardcore red" by soldiers, the group was active in Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces and allegedly coordinated by masterminds who were influential politicians in southern border provinces. It had a nationwide network, except in the lower South.

The term "hardcore red" does not refer to the Red Shirts or the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship.

The military brought 15 of the suspects to the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on Friday to seek their longer detention.

There Pol Maj Gen Chayaphol Chatchaidej, criminal planning commander of the Royal Thai Police Office, said the group founded the Revolutionary Front for Democracy Party last year and based its anti-government ideas on communism. They had had meetings in Ang Thong, Nonthaburi, Phatthalung and Suphan Buri provinces, he said.

Although their arrests followed the series of bombings and arson attacks late last week, authorities had not found any connection between the group and the incidents, Pol Maj Gen Chayaphol said.

Investigators would find out if the group was linked with any other political group or party, he added.

The 17 suspects were charged with illegal political gatherings and illegal secret organisation. They were identified as:

1. Pol Sen Sgt Maj Sirirat  Manorat, 71, from Phatthalung

2. Mr Weerachat Chansaard, 62, from  Nonthaburi

3. Mr Prapas Rojanapithak, 67, from  Trang

4. Mr Pramote Sangharn, 63, from Satun

5. Mr Sorasak Ditpreecha, 49, from Bangkok

6. Ms Meena Saengsri, 39, from Bangkok

7. Mr Siritharoj Chinda, 56, from Nong Khai

8. Pol Sub-Lt Wilaiwan Khoonsawat, 54, from Nong Khai (at large)

9. Pol Lt Samai Khoonsawat, 57, from Nong Khai (at large)

10. Mr Chinnaworn Thipnual, 71, from Chiang Rai

11. Mr Boonphob Wiangsamut, 61, from Chiang Rai

12. Mr Narong Phadungsak, 60, from Ang Thong

13. Mr Sorawat Kurajinda, 60, from Maha Sarakham

14. Mr Nuaphrai Senklang, 41, n/a

15. Ms Rujiya Saosomphob, 52, from Roi Et

16. Mr Wichian Chiamsawat, 59, from Nakhon Si Thammarat

17. Mr Wiroj Yodcharoen, 67, from Nakhon Si Thammarat

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