Updated: The Cambodians and red shirts

11 10 2010

The highly politicized Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has decided to push ahead on the very unlikely story related to the 11 men arrested/detained/protected or something else in Chiang Mai, who were 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 “terrorists-in-training” earlier. Our skepticism (and that of others) was expressed there.

DSI now claims that an “investigation” had discovered that “39 Thai men” – we presume DSI checked their passports and IDs – “have been trained for arms use in Cambodia for a mission to assassinate this country’s key public figures including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.”DSI claims this was a second round of alleged training in Cambodia.

Given that DSI is very much a flunky agency for the Abhisit regime, continually making political cases and rapid-fire allegations, all this is a bit hard to believe, but the report is carried by MCOT, so is going to get attention.

Pol-Lt Col Payao Thongsen, chief of DSI investigators probing the terrorism charge-related activities, told a news conference that the 11 (arrested/detained/protected or something else) men were “suspected of involvement in a movement to destabilise national security and plan to kill the country’s very important persons as well as overthrow the monarchy…”. This mirrors statements made by Chiang Mai police a few days ago. He claims that “police … have … solid evidence such as phone call details between these people and Red Shirt DJs group in Cambodia…”.

Apparently the men were “well-trained in using firearms” after a full one week of training (see below). Interestingly, trained assassins sent to kill king and prime minister, are now “under witness protection scheme in exchange for useful information which could lead to an arrest of other accomplices.” The colonel also said that these nasties had “confessed to being members of the anti-government movement, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), and … were recruited and taken by Red Shirt leaders to Cambodia for arms training.” After that shock announcement, the DSI “investigator” linked this group to “men-in-black.” As he mentions the April and May events, we might assume that these men-in-black are not the one’s who took over an airport car park recently, apparently supporting a “business arrangement” for government-aligned politicians. In any case, these men had not undergone the alleged training until after 19 May.

Payao claimed that it was “Red Shirt leaders in northern region, mainly Red Shirt disc jockeys at community radio stations” who organised the training in Cambodia. Red shirt leader Arisman Pongruangrong is also said to have been involved. The colonel says one “group convened in Bangkok, leaving Thailand by way of the Chong Jom border crossing in Surin province, the second group gathered at Nakhon Ratchasima and left Thailand via Chong Jom, and the last group met at Sa Kaeo and crossed to Cambodia…”. Linking this story to the Privy Council-linked alarmist claims released over the weekend, Payao said the 39 were “in a Cambodian army camp and they were trained by Cambodian soldiers.”

Payao claims that the first week of the alleged training “focused on political education but inciting anger and hatred on the monarchy while the second week was how to use military weapons and the third week was field operations training…”. He says that DSI found a “map of routes leading to [the] home of former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban who oversees national security had been used for the training of how to carry out the assassination plot and how to deal with his security guards…”. The targets for assassination also included Abhisit, Newin Chidchob and acting Police Inspector-General Pol Lt-Gen Somkid Boonthanom.

Colonel Payao said the “35 armed men arrived Thailand August 16 and then went separate ways before reuniting again in Phufa Resort in Chiang Mai in September to be standby for the operation as asked by UDD leaders in the northern region.” There is no indication where the other 24 associated with this alleged plot are now located, although the DSI G-men are on their trail, including in Cambodia.

PPT awaits the evidence that will no doubt be made available in the (presumably open) court cases. We are also keen to hear the Cambodian response.

Update: The Nation now has a brief story on this Payao press conference. Meanwhile, the Cambodian government has denied the claims. Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan stated: “It’s made up. Our constitution does not allow anyone to do that sort of thing [on Cambodian soil]…. Nobody is allowed to do any such stupid thing in Cambodia.” As might be expected, he also referred to “recent meetings between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Abhisit in the United States and Brussels were evidence of Cambodia’s good intentions to improve relations.” Phay added: “So I think this accusation is a made-up story to blame Cambodia, and is also [part of the] campaign against the red shirts, using Cambodia as a springboard for Thai local politics…”.



4 responses

12 10 2010
More on alleged Cambodian terrorist training « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] This report refers to the claims that have been made by Privy Council associated sources and the Department of Special Investigation after 11 alleged red shirt “terrorists-in-training” were placed under protective […]

13 10 2010
Government tactless at best « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] claims regarding red shirts, explosions, “terrorists-in-training” and so on (see here, here, here and […]

23 01 2014
Does he protest too much? | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] on Monday in 10 passenger vans in order to instigate violence in Bangkok.” This claim, reminiscent of claims made under the Suthep-Abhisit Vejjajiva regime about red shirts, like back then, has no evidence. It did have a link to […]

23 01 2014
Does he protest too much? | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] on Monday in 10 passenger vans in order to instigate violence in Bangkok.” This claim, reminiscent of claims made under the Suthep-Abhisit Vejjajiva regime about red shirts, like back then, has no evidence. It did have a link to […]

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