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Security Tightens for Thaksin’s Visit to Chiangrai’s Tachilek Boarder Town

Thaksin Shinawatra’s son, Panthongtae, said he has been informed of a plot to kill his father at a Myanmar pagoda at a gathering with Thai red shirts similar to this one that took place in Laos last April. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

 

CHIANGRAI – Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai has ordered more officers to handle an expected rise in border pass requests ahead of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s visit to Myanmar next week.

District chief Sopon Choomchuchan said the border requests were still at normal levels at the moment, with 2,000-6,000 people crossing the border each day. However, the number of visitors is expected to increase before Thaksin’s visit to the area on Friday and Saturday.

Thailand’s Defense Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat is confident the Myanmar government can protect deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra when he visits the country this week.

The minister was responding to rumors of an assassination plot against Thaksin ahead of the trip.

Thaksin will meet Myanmar President Thein Sein on Thursday when he visits Naypyidaw as a part of his three-day trip to Myanmar.

On Friday, Thaksin is expected to meet leading government MPs from Thailand as well as Thai and Myanmar businessmen in Tachilek—a border town opposite Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said Sunday he was confident Myanmar authorities would provide security for Thaksin Shinawatra

Rumors have spread that there is a plot to assassinate Thaksin during his visit to Tachilek.

“I am confident Myanmar authorities will provide good protection,” Sukumpol said.

Thaksin will stay at a hotel located far from the Thai-Myanmar border opposite Mae Sai. Sukumpol admitted protecting Thaksin would be difficult.

A border security source said it has not been confirmed if Thaksin will visit Tachilek, given recent unrest between Myanmar’s ethnic minorities and local gang activity linked to the drug trade.

“Someone may plan to assassinate Thaksin and place the blame on those ethnic minorities and drug traders,” the source said.

Last Friday, Myanmar authorities raided a house near Regina Hotel and Golf Club, where Thaksin will stay if his visit to Tachilek goes ahead.

Police confiscated three RPG grenades, gunpowder, and 10 M16 ammunition rounds from the house. A man in the house was detained for questioning. Myanmar police said there was no apparent connection between the arms cache and Thaksin’s visit. A border security source said the seizure was a follow-up of a previous crackdown on cross-border arms smuggling.

However, Panthongtae Shinawatra, Thaksin’s son, on Sunday said in a message on his Facebook page that he had received information from Thai border authorities that the ammunition seized would have been used to attack a pagoda in Tachilek where his father and the red-shirt supporters will attend a merit-making event next Saturday.

Mr Panthongtae said he believed a group of Thais are behind the plot, which he called the fifth attempt on his father’s life. He said this latest plot involves the same group of people.

He expects that his father will stay clear of the border, which means red shirts will have to travel deeper into Myanmar to meet him.

Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai has ordered more officers to handle an expected rise in border pass requests ahead of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s visit to Myanmar next week.

District chief Sopon Choomchuchan said the border requests were still at normal levels at the moment, with 2,000-6,000 people crossing the border each day. However, the number of visitors is expected to increase before Thaksin’s visit to the area on Friday and Saturday.

The district office will prepare officers in case 10,000 people seek border passes each day at this time.

Moreover, a second bridge, as well as the main bridge usually used for the border crossing, would be open to provide convenience to the visitors, he said.

Thaksin is scheduled to meet Myanmar President Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw after arriving on Thursday and is due to meet Thai MPs and supporters later in Tachilek, which is located opposite Mae Sai in Thailand’s far north.

Thaksin’s sister Yaowapha Wongsawat asked Thaksin’s supporters to see him in Tachilek.

“Anyone who wants to give him moral support, please go. We also want to send moral support to him and we want him home so that he can do good for the people.

“He misses the people especially the Isan (Northeastern) people and really wants to come home. If he comes home, he will first come to the Northeast, as the Northeast is like his capital. It won’t be too long you will meet Thaksin. Please wait,” Yaowapha said as she presided over the opening of a Pheu Thai office in Ubon Ratchathani.

Thaksin’s legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said Saturday morning would be the best time for Thaksin’s supporters to greet him as he would make merit there and may have time to talk.

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Posted by on Nov 5 2012. Filed under Chiangrai News, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.
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