'Influential criminals' must be purged, says army chief

'Influential criminals' must be purged, says army chief

Eradication of all "influential criminal figures" is the objective of the current nationwide crackdown, army chief Gen Theerachai Nakwanich said on Wednesday.

Speaking before departing for the South to attend a meeting of 4th Army commanders in Pattani province, Gen Theerachai said the crackdown on "dark influence" had in fact begun long ago.

The current operation followed the verfication of information compiled by the military, police and civil service officials.

Gen Theerachai denied the operation would continue only until the next general election. He said it would continue until all those influential criminal figures had been purged, so that innocent people could lead a normal life.  He admitted, however, that the operation would intensify over the next six months.

He was satisfied with the results of the searches of the houses of influential figures in Nakhon Pathom province on Tuesday.

Gen Theerachai denied an accusation by people in the political sector that only politicians were targeted. Anyone classed as a dark influence, regardless of their standing or position and including those in the military, were the targets.

He denied as untrue a report that Gen Trairong Intaratat, alias Seh Ice, a retired army specialist, and Karun Hosakul, a former Pheu Thai MP for Don Muang, and Capt Thammanas Prompao, a former army officer, had been listed as influential criminal figures.



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