Was there red shirt weapons training at Doi Ku Fah resort?

9 10 2010

PPT is catching up on some of the news in recent days, and came across this report in the Bangkok Post. It is worth highlighting, especially as it was submerged with the explosion in Nonthaburi. Our earlier post on the “terrorist training” case – these men were said to be “freedom fighters” in one report – expressed considerable skepticism. Hence, the report in the Post is of interest.

The first item of interest is that the “owner of a resort where 11 suspected terrorists were arrested on Saturday says he is shocked his property is being painted as a weapons training ground. Phajon Sukteep said yesterday his Doi Ku Fah resort in the northern province was in reality helping to build local communities.” He even says that the philosophy behind the resort is the royalist-promoted sufficiency economy. Phajon went further and “attacked the media for portraying the resort as a training ground for the 11 men arrested on suspicion of preparing for a mission to carry out political violence and assassinations.” He talked of  exaggeration. He also denied any connection to red shirts or any armed groups.

The second item relates to a lower house committee on military affairs that called a meeting on the arrests, with several agencies attending. Interestingly, “Pol Maj Gen Banthop Sukhonthaman, deputy chief of Police Region 5, told the committee there had been no weapons training at the resort.” He added: “the 11 men were being held as witnesses as they had provided authorities with useful information. He did not give any specifics.” The arrested men were said to now fear for their lives, ” had not been charged and were placed in the witness protection programme.”

This is sounding increasingly like another of the authorities staged events (and we hasten to add that such events have been staged for decades).

Even a Bangkok Post editorial was skeptical: “The only consistent piece of information from news about the apprehension of men accused of having received weapons training and involved in the red shirt movement, is that there are 11 of them.” It added: “where exactly did the alleged training take place, what kind of training was imparted, what information links the men to bombing cases in Bangkok as alleged by the police? The police have so far provided no information to support their claims.”

The answer to our headline question appears to be: No.

So what’s going on? The answer seems to be, as the editorial in the Post says, that these claims are part of “the politics of fear that is taking root in Thai society.”

PPT has longed stated that the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime has been stoking fear, especially amongst the supposedly educated middle class in Bangkok. This has been so central to the regime’s political strategy that there is reason for considerable skepticism about the Nonthaburi blast and to demand a serious and independent investigation. We won’t hold our breath.

However, some questions that come to mind: Were the victims killed by the blast or were they already dead (here, think Saudi gems case)?  Were items found and entered into evidence in a condition consistent with having been in a major explosion? Where were the explosive materials obtained? What was the detonator and where was it? What do the CCTV tapes show? Who was the man reported leaving the room just prior to the blast? There are also several questions that might be asked about leaks, forensic “competition” leading to a lack of integrity related to evidence, links to the south and so on.



2 responses

10 10 2010
The fear factor « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] thought the alleged bombers were already in custody?], and the military camp in Chiang Mai [see our earlier post]; the group linked to the missing weapons from an arms depot in Lop Buri [likewise, we understood […]

11 10 2010
The Cambodians and red shirts « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] at one time accused of undergoing weapons training (but weren’t) at a resort in the north. PPT posted on this “case” of alleged red shirt “freedom fighters” or […]

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