Govt to hand out B1.4bn to former communists

Govt to hand out B1.4bn to former communists

The Communist Party of Thailand has been defunct since 1980 when guerrillas and 'misled' students agreed to leave the jungle, lay down arms and take hefty payments in cash and land to stop their low-level war. (Creative Commons photo)
The Communist Party of Thailand has been defunct since 1980 when guerrillas and 'misled' students agreed to leave the jungle, lay down arms and take hefty payments in cash and land to stop their low-level war. (Creative Commons photo)

The government will next Wednesday hand out a total of 1.4 billion baht to 6,183 ex-comrades in "pocket money", as a parting gift to former members of the now-defunct Communist Party of Thailand (CPT).

The money, intended to help them stand firmly on their feet for the future, is the last installment in a financial package that was agreed in 1980 when then Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda urged CPT members to turn their backs on the party and join a national development programme.

Former CPT members and supporters were first given plots of land, followed by help in 2002 and 2009, and with one last batch of help planned for this week, said Col Phirawat Saengthong, spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command.

The Prayut Chan-o-cha cabinet approved the financial assistance last month, in which each will receive 225,000 baht, he said.

This group of ex-comrades are eligible for the money because they meet certain criteria: They surrendered themselves to the government, have never received help, and are currently struggling against poverty, said Col Phirawat.

At 1pm on June 21, authorities will start handing out the money to the recipients simultaneously at 11 locations around the country.

Those who live in the Central Plains can report to officials at the Army Club in Bangkok or the 9th Infantry Division, known as Surasi Military Base, in Kanchanaburi.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon will preside over the event in Bangkok where he will meet 294 ex-comrades.

Other nine locations, mainly in military compounds, are in the northeastern provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan, the northern provinces of Nan and Tak and the southern provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Phatthalung.


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