PPT is becoming more and more bemused by the goings on related to lese majeste and the military junta. The latest story is among the most bizarre. So bizarre that we reproduce it in full from The Nation:
Three men, including a former Border Patrol policeman, have been arrested in connection with an alleged plot targeting government figures during a big national event next month, the national police chief said Wednesday.
Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said police intelligence had learned that the trio may have been plotting to create unrest and allegedly planning an attack during the “Bike for Dad” event on December 11.
The suspects were identified as Pol Sgt-Major Prathin Chanket, who was formerly with the Border Patrol Police, Pissanu Phromsorn and Nattaphol Nawanlay. They were initially accused of violating Article 112 of the Penal Code involving lese majeste and the Computer Crime Act.
Chakthip said yesterday that police had monitored the suspects’ activities and movements for a while before their arrests were made.
“This group was targeting Bangkok and intelligence reports show they were aiming at important persons in the government. It could have been sabotage with the use of explosives,” the police chief said.
“But we still don’t know if this group has any political connections,” he said, adding that police investigators have not ruled out political motivation.
Chakthip said police have evidence against the suspects, including records of their communication through social-media applications.
“The military court approved the arrest warrants because police could prove that they were planning to carry out an attack in Bangkok,” the police chief said.
Police are checking to see if those suspects had anything to do with bomb attacks in Bangkok in the past, Chakthip said.
“Police believe this movement involves more than three people and they have a mastermind,” he added.
Before his arrest, former policeman Prathin worked as a security guard at the Bank of Thailand’s Khon Kaen office. He was arrested at his home in the Northeast province and later brought to Bangkok for questioning.
We assume that a claim will be made that the arrested men are or were red shirts. Whatever the claims that will be made and the veracity of the “plot,”, it seems that Thailand’s ruling elite and the military junta is being torn apart by something to do with succession and Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.
Update 1: Khaosod reports on this alleged “plot” and does not mention lese majeste. In this report there are claims regarding “[r]umors of a plot to assassinate junta chairman and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha [that] began circulating on Monday.”
Already a finger has been pointed at red shirts and a broader “plot” to create “unrest” in the northeast. The report names three “suspects”: Police Sergeant Prathin Chanket, Pitsanu Promsorn and Nattapol Nawanle. Social media rumors are of a junta effort to create a diversion from its own corruption issues and “investigations.”
The Bangkok Post reports that a “search” is on for “the mastermind of a group suspected of plotting unrest and possibly attacking key figures during festive events in Bangkok and the provinces.” This report does mention lese majeste charges against the three arrested men.