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Pattaya Daily News

25 August 2006 :: 04:08:03 am 30073

General sacked, aide arrested in alleged PM assassination attempt

BANGKOK, Aug 24 Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has declined to comment on an alleged plot to assassinate him using a car bomb Thursday, pending police investigation, but the deputy commander of Thailand‘s Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) was dismissed later in the day after his driver was arrested in connection with the incident.
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Royal Thai Army Lt. Thawatchai Klinchana, an officer with the Internal Security Operations Command, was charged with illegal possession of an explosive device.

Mr. Thaksin disclosed he had left his home in Bangkok‘s Bang Plad neighbourhood at about 8.30am–an hour earlier than originally scheduled–only to have a bombing suspect arrested by his security agents and police in a busy street barely half a kilometre away.

The caretaker prime minister refused to say whether the unexpected dismissal of Gen. Panlop Pinmanee as deputy director of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) was connected to an apparently foiled assassination bid in which Lt. Thawatchai, had packed his sedan with TNT and C-4 explosives which police said were awaiting detonation by remote control in the vicinity of Mr. Thaksin‘s residence.

A police bomb-disposal squad defused the explosives and the Crime Suppression Division was conducting in-depth questioning of the bombing suspect.

The caretaker prime minister admitted he would have to take more precautions, especially outside Government House, and indicated that he would delegate others to attend some official commitments on his behalf.

Mr. Thaksin did not comment if the attempted plot on his life might have been connected with repeated calls for him to ‘stay out of politics‘ — at least until after the approaching general election, adding he could not say anything until the police probe into the incident has been completed.

National Intelligence Agency chief Pol. Gen. Chumphol Munmai said he believed the car bombing plot was intended to assassinate the caretaker prime minister, given the size of the explosive charges, which could have levelled a one-kilometre radius had they been detonated.

In another development, Mr Thaksin held an emergency meeting with top brass of the military — caretaker Defense Minister Gen Thammarak Isarangura na Ayutthaya, Army commander in chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, Navy commander in chief Adm. Sathiraphand Keyanond and Air Force commander in chief ACM Chalit Pukphasook.

The meeting at Government House lasted about 30 minutes, after which no one spoke to reporters.

Mr Thaksin cancelled his afternoon schedule, including a plan to discuss Khao Phra Vihear with his Cambodian counterpart and taping an address for the 14th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) scheduled to take place in Havana next month.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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