Police to trace rumors

3 02 2010

Yes, the police are going to track down the rumor-mongers again. But this is not about the rumors of the king’s health, as many readers might have guessed. The Bangkok Post (3 February 2010) reports that the acting national police chief has ordered the Special Branch to track down anyone involved in spreading rumours about a coup.

Presumably his loyal sleuths will be reporting every major newspaper and news magazine in the country. But the top cop wants to know “who initiated the rumours.” The Post states that “speculation about an impending coup began last week when 22 armoured vehicles were seen on the streets of Bangkok. They were on their way from Bang Sue railway station to their barracks in Pathum Thani.

PPT stated at the time that we believed these movements were related to preparations for controlling the red shirt demonstrations that the government fears are likely next month, not preparations for a coup. The Post reports that “Puea Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh … also dismissed the coup speculation. He said as a former soldier he did not think the top military brass would stage a coup.”

For a useful assessment of coup rumors and discussion see The Irrawaddy (3 February 2010).

It is not immediately clear why the government has taken to blaming the red shirts for the coup rumors. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has made this comment several times in the past few days. That’s probably why the police are announcing this odd move; it is either meant to be intimidation or is just plain stupid.



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