CHIANGRAI – Thaksin Shinawatra has decided to cancel his plan to travel to the border town of Tachilek in Myanmar, opposite Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, on Nov 9-10 for security reasons, his personal lawyer Noppadon Pattama announced in a statement delivered to the media on Tuesday morning.
In the statement, Mr Noppadon said Thaksin was originally scheduled to visit Myanmar between Nov 8-10 during which he planned to be in Tachilek on Friday and Saturday.
But last Friday Myanmar authorities arrested a Shan suspect in Tachilek and found in his possession a quantity of war weapons, including some rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and explosives.
The authorities learned from a preliminary investigation that the suspect planned to use the seized weapons to assassinate Thaksin.
Security officials of Thailand and Myanmar suggested that Thaksin postpone the trip to Tachilek for security reasons because the area was dangerous.
Thaksin himself was afraid that the people who planned to see him in Tachilek in large numbers would also be in danger if an attack with war weapons did occur.
Moreover, many Thai people and red-shirts had voiced their concern for Thaksin’s safety via his son Phanthongtae’s Facebook page. They also sent SMS’s directly to Thaksin, asking him to postpone the trip.
“Therefore, Thaksin has decided to postpone the trip to Tachilek. However, his other functions will remain unchanged, including a courtesy call on Myanmar President Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw on Thursday. He will leave Myanmar on that day,” Mr Noppadon said in the statement.
Mr Noppadon said Thaksin had expressed thanks to Myanmar authorities for their security arrangements for his visit.
He said there were many reasons which could lead to this assassination plot against Thaksin. It might be masterminded by those affected by his tough policy against drugs in the past.
It might also come from political conflict inside Thailand because there had been several assassination attempts on Thaksin’s life while he was prime minister.
This was a matter for police to further investigate to identify those who might have been involved in the plot, Mr Noppadon said.
In Chiang Rai, Jeeranant Chanthawong, a core member of the June 24 Group of red shirts, said she had also learned from some senior officials that Thaksin would definitely not travel to Tachilek on Nov 10.