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Pattaya Daily News

12 October 2010 :: 12:10:08 pm 43802

DSI Reveals Assassination Squads Trained in Cambodia

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI) on Monday revealed that investigations have uncovered a group of Thai nationals having received unofficial military training in Cambodia. The group have subsequently been linked to previous reports of planned assassination attempts on the nation’s key political figures including Prime Minster Abhisit Vejjajiva.
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Bangkok, the 11th of October 2010: Police Lieutenant Colonel Payao Thongen, chief of the DSI investigative panel probing terrorism related activities, held a press conference on Monday pertaining to information regarding previous reports of assassination attempts on the nations key political figures.

Information received by Thai intelligence agencies, largely from 11 suspects detained in relation to planned assassinations on the nations key political and public figures last week, suggested that a group of some 39 Thai nationals had received extensive military training in Cambodia over the past few months.

Following the 11 arrests in Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai last week, reports have surfaced of a much larger ‘terrorist’ operation believed to be organised under the guidance of fugitive, radical Red Shirt leader Arisman Pongruangrong, believed to be hiding in Cambodia. He has several arrest warrants pending against him in Thailand, considered one of the most wanted men by Thai authorities.

Arisman Pongruangrong was part of a core group of Red Shirt leaders involved with the Bangkok protests earlier this year. Despite government-run media reports to the contrary, Pongruangrong is considered a radical component of the movement by many of his fellow leaders, most of which are currently remanded in custody over their participation in the aforementioned Red Shirt occupation of Bangkok.

According to Thai intelligence reports, a group of some 39 Thai nationals, inclusive of the 11 currently detained men, received specific military training in the fields of  weapons usage, espionage tactics and explosives, while in Cambodia. It is believed that the instructors are components from within the Cambodian army and the radical Red Shirt movement themselves.

In addition to the group of 39, it is believed that another group, approximately the same size, received similar training beforehand. This initial group is thought to have included Samai Wongsuwan, the man believed to have developed the explosive device, which exploded in Nonthaburi province last week, killing four people including himself.

The 11 detained offenders are currently in witness protection and are believed to have fully confessed to being members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). They were allegedly recruited by radical Red Shirt leaders while attending the mass protests in Bangkok between March-May of this year.

Along with their military style training the group were in the midst of planning several high-profile assassinations on figures such as Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, recently resigned Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, de facto leader of the coalition Bhumjaithai Party Newin Chidchob and Acting Police Inspector-General  Lieutenant-General Somkid Boonthanom.

Reports of an anti-monarchist sentiment running through the group were confirmed by the arrested men, who informed police that part of the training and recruitment process including acts of harbouring hate towards Thailand’s revered royal family.

Lt. Col. Payao revealed that the arrest of the 11 men was instigated after one of their party, Kittichai Chansawas, escaped the group, unwilling to participate in the radical operation. According to reports, Kittichai initially sort refuge from local resident of the area before contacting authorities in fear of his life.

Investigations into the identity and whereabouts of the remaining men involved with the group are continuing, while the DSI is thought to be in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cambodian Authorities over the matters.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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