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UDD leader accuses junta of ‘subversion’ red herring after arrest

Feb 13. 2018
File photo : Weng
File photo : Weng
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By The Nation

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A RED-SHIRT leader has cried foul after the arrest of a colleague and questioned whether it had merely been a convenient distraction from the junta’s growing unpopularity.

Weng Tojirakarn, a prominent member of the red-shirt umbrella group the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), claimed red-shirt supporters were always the targets accused of subversion. 

His remark came after the police raided a condominium in Nonthaburi on Monday night and reportedly found several bombs linked to red-shirt hardliner Wuttipong “Ko Tee” Kotthammakhun.

Rirkchapol Poolsilp, 53, a Yala resident, was arrested after an M26 grenade, four home-made small bombs, two pipe bombs and 20 large firecrackers were found in a room at Muang Thong Thani Condominium.

Deputy Police Commissioner General Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said Rirkchapol had admitted that he was a red-shirt military leader under Wuttipong’s leadership.

Srivara said the arrest had not been staged and Rirkchapol was among 27 red-shirt supporters being monitored by police.

The bombs found in the room were the same type used in the attack at the Ratchaprasong Intersection in 2014, he said.

However, Weng said the police account was highly questionable considering the arrest took place just as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was under pressure on several fronts. 

The junta is under pressure after Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has been widely criticised for allegedly owning dozens of luxury watches and demonstrations were also stepping up calls for an election to be held in November as previously promised. 

“Now, everything is just going hard on PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha, so the arrest could have some hidden agenda or could be an attempt to bury the junta’s unfavourable news,” Weng said. 

Last November, police also found bombs and military-grade weapons in Chachoengsao province and linked the find with Wuttipong.

Wuttipong has been accused of lese majeste and fled the country after the 2014 coup. Red-shirt supporters have said that he might have been killed following reports that he had been abducted by unidentified men.

Weng has urged the police to provide full details of all arrests involving red-shirt supporters as well as progress on the Chachoengsao case.

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