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Generals have Different Opinions on Chiangrai



Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa, left, and Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha


Defense Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa and army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha have been discussing whether to lift martial law imposed in Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai province after the killing of 13 Chinese sailors last month.

Gen Yutthasak want martial law to revoke the police to take part in matters of security, but Gen Prayuth wants to remain in force.

Gen Prayuth believes that the law imposed in over 100 districts across the country border, it is necessary to deal with illegal immigration, drug trafficking and illegal logging along the border, near the Golden Triangle in Thailand, Burma and Laos.

According to one source, the defense minister conveyed his intention to lift martial law in the meeting of the Council of the Ministry of Defence yesterday. The National Security Council (NSC) proposed the idea and the minister supports it. Former police chief Pol Gen the Potephosree Wicha is the National Security Council secretary-general.

The source said the police involvement was aimed at boosting the climate of transparency in security matters in the province to the north.

Gen Prayuth, however, said after the meeting of the Defense Council that while martial law was in force, military operations were transparent and the soldiers had conflicts with the police there.

He said that martial law could be raised gradually in the border areas, where security threats have eased. Martial law was imposed in Chiang Saen after the slaughter of 13 Chinese sailors believed to have died aboard two cargo ships with Chinese flag on the Mekong River on 05 October. Most of their bodies were found in sections of the river of Thailand and Laos.

Narcotics suppression Soldiers of Task Force Pa Muang Thai Army were accused of involvement in the murder, but the task force Shan fault to a drug trafficking ring operating in the north of the Golden Triangle, supposedly after a no demand for protection money from cargo ships.

Thai soldiers seized 920,000 reports of methamphetamine pills from ships named Hua Xing Ping and Hao Yu 8 and believes that traffickers planned to use hijacked ships for smuggling drugs in Thailand, but were arrested by Thai troops on the road.

Before yesterday’s meeting of the Council of Defense, General Yutthasak suggested that the Mekong countries, jointly should intensify their efforts against crime in the Mekong.

He said there had been 20 or 30 crimes recently in the river, and most have occurred in the sections under the jurisdiction of Laos and Burma, and out of the stretch of 9 km length of the river, under the authority of Thailand.

The defense minister said he expected a clearer guidelines for joint security operations.

The minister said relations remained good between Bangkok and Beijing, because the Thai authorities were cooperating well with their Chinese counterparts in the investigation of the murders.

Gen Yutthasak insisted that no one would be arrested and a scapegoat in the case, adding that the Chinese authorities confirmed that they had recorded telephone conversations and photographs to identify the culprits.

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