Updates on Wednesday’s Highway Clashes

Al Jazeera English has posted a video report of Wednesday’s violent clashes that has left one soldier killed by friendly fire and many injured.

Soldier dies as and Thai military clash“, video by Al Jazeera English.

At the 1:18 minute mark they show a black-uniformed man with a red bandana clearly holding a pistol, despite the claims that they were unarmed. You can also see that all sorts of security forces were present, from soldiers, police in riot gear, special military ops and SWAT teams – no wonder it was hard to distinguish all battling fractions in the chaos.

In other news, in the aftermath of the seizure of 63 M79 grenades, a cop has been arrested and taken into questioning. Yesterday already the police has found “documents of Pol Sgt Pratya Maneekote of Patum Thani’s Kukot district” and today more details emerged.

During tense interrogation, Pol Sgt-Maj Prinya [Maneekhot, same name, different transliterationconfessed to having in his possession 63 M79 grenades which were seized by police from a motorcycle during the stand-off between the red-shirts and government forces near the National Memorial on Wednesday. Police  said they also found the wanted policeman’s ID.

He said the grenades were being transported to his “clients”, according to Pol Lt-Gen Krisda.

However, the suspect denied any involvement in the past M79 attacks in Bangkok and other provinces, or the activities of the red-shirts of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.

Before his arrest, Pol Sgt-Maj Prinya went to Kasikorn Bank at the Zeer department store in Rangsit and withdrew 290,000 baht. He proceeded to Krung Thai Bank at Si Mum Muang market nearby and withdrew another 300,000 baht, Pol Lt-Gen Krisda said. (…)

In a search of his vehicle, police found a 9mm handgun, a fully-loaded magazine, a monocular, four fake car licence plates, camouflaged military pouches and 700,000 baht in cash.

In an earlier search of a car at his house before the arrest, police found three M16 rifles and 100 ammunition magazines, three M79 grenade launchers, 10 barrels for M79 launchers, and many other items.

Pol Maj-Gen Methi Kusolsang, the Pathum Thani police chief, said he had ordered Pol Sgt-Maj Prinya’s suspension from the police force pending further investigation to establish if he was a member of an illegal weapons trading ring. (…)

Arrested cop admits taking grenades to ‘client’“, Bangkok Post, April 29, 2010

Of course it would be interesting to see who these ‘clients’ were…


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