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‘Security issues may delay lifting of political ban’

Dec 01. 2017
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By The Nation

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The junta might not lift the current political ban as Deputy PM and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan claimed on Friday there were increasing intelligence inputs on movements that could “harm security”.

“Some groups of people have started to move. If it goes on like this, lifting the political ban is hard,” Prawit said. “But we also can’t maintain the political ban [forever]. We may lift it closer to election.”

The deputy PM also spoke after a recent discovery of a large cache of active military weapons in Chachoengsao province, purportedly stored in preparation for an attack in the capital.

Deputy national police chief Pol General Srivara Ransibhramanakul on Thursday linked the weapons to an extremist political group led by Wuttipong “Ko Tee” Kottham-makhun.

An initial examination of the weapons, according to Srivara, indicated they were from the same batch as those used in at least three attacks in 2014 in Bangkok and metropolitan areas.

He is on the lookout for 53-year-old Wattana Sapwichian, regarded as a “person of interest” regarding the discovered weapons.

On Friday, Prawit reiterated that the weapons belonged to the same batch as Wuttipong’s, but further investigations should be updated by police.

He denied the weapons discovery was being staged to legitimise the junta government’s controls over security at a time when it is facing a popularity crisis.

“We’re not going down. We have been criticised a lot but we can still work fine. It’s nothing,” he added.

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