Security tightened in amid intense political situation

10:11, February 16, 2010      

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Security has been tightened in Thailand's capital Bangkok on Monday after two separate attacks at a university near the Government House and at the Supreme Court last weekend.


Thai anti- government protestors gather near the office of the national Election Commission (EC) in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, on Feb. 15, 2010. A group of the Thai anti- government protestors on Monday gathered near the office of the national Election Commission (EC) in Thailand's capital Bangkok. The red-shirted protestors wanted a progress report on a case against the ruling Democrat Party, charged with unlawfully receiving 258 million baht (7.77 million U.S. dollars) from TPI Polene, a listed company. (Xinhua/Shi Xianzhen)

On Feb. 13, an unidentified gunmen fired an M-79 grenade at a state university, some 50 meters from the Government House in Bangkok around 11 p.m., leaving four parked cars, a building and a pavilion damaged, but no one got injured.

A day later, a C-4 bomb was found in the Supreme Court compound and was demolished by police bomb squad. It is reported that the bomb was powerful enough to destroy the whole building.


Thai anti- government protestors gather near the office of the national Election Commission (EC) in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, on Feb. 15, 2010. (Xinhua/Shi Xianzhen)

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Monday that he believed the incidents were unlikely to be the work of ordinary people as such the weapons are normally neither in use nor in public possession, Thai News Agency reported.

Moreover, involved securities have worried that more violent attacks will occur ahead of a court verdict on ousted former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra's asset seizure case.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions will pronounce the verdict for the 76 billion baht (2.29 billion U.S. dollars) asset seizure case of Thaksin on Feb. 26

Minister of Interior Chavarat Charnvirakul said national security agencies have warned of possible violence attacks ahead of the court's ruling, hence the country's political situation during the forthcoming ten days is worrying.

It is the responsibility of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and police to ensure law and order, the interior minister said.


Thai anti- government protestors gather near the office of the national Election Commission (EC) in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, on Feb. 15, 2010. (Xinhua/Shi Xianzhen)

Thailand's acting police chief Pateep Tanprasert Monday held a meeting with involved senior police officers as they discussed about the movement of the anti-government United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) group, the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT) under the state-owned Public Relations Department reported.

The meeting discussed about readiness of police forces to deal with the anti-government rallies, which are expected to be more intense ahead of the court ruling on Feb. 26.

After the two incidents over the weekend, Metropolitan Police Division 1 commander Police Major General Wichai Sangprapai has ordered a security beef-up at eight more spots, including of those of key figures, the National News Bureau of Thailand said.

The security has been tightened, particularly at night time from 19.00 p.m., local time until 6.0 a.m., local time, according to Police Major General Wichai.

Prime Minister Abhisit changed vehicles -- from his official Mercedes-Benz car to a bullet-proof Land Rover, amid tight security,Thai News Agency reported.

Also, a joint force of police and military men, who carried M- 16 assault rifles, are at several intersections near the Thai premier's residence.

Meanwhile, security authorities have already set up 200 checkpoints in Bangkok and suburbs in a bid to prevent anti- government protestors to bring in weapons to the capital.


Thai anti- government protestors gather near the office of the national Election Commission (EC) in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, on Feb. 15, 2010. (Xinhua/Shi Xianzhen)

In a related development, Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said at this point it is still not yet necessary to impose the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Currently, involved security agencies are evaluating the overall picture of the country's political situation in order to maintain peace and security, the defence minister said.

The defence minister has also asked the public to cooperate with the government by informing security staff if they experience irregularities.

At the same time, Minister of Interior Chavarat said he is concerned about the provincial situation, hence he has instructed provincial governors to closely monitor the local anti-government movement and to maintain law and order across the country.

Source: Xinhua
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