Author Topic: Run-up to the election with violence?  (Read 942 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

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Run-up to the election with violence?
« on: May 12, 2011, 07:56:31 AM »

Shooting of former MP raises violence fears

Army chief, PM lead calls for a peaceful campaign in the run-up to election

In the wake of the shooting of Pheu Thai Party MP Pracha Prasobdee on Tuesday night, the military, the police and the prime minister are calling for peaceful political campaigns following the announcement of the House dissolution.

Police are continuing to investigate who shot and wounded Pracha in his home province of Samut Prakan on Tuesday night.

Army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha expressed concern over more possible violence and distanced the military from both being behind the shooting and handling security measures in the run-up to the election.

"The security duties belong to the police, not directly to the military. The [Supreme Command's] Internal Security Operations Command distantly monitors the situations and tips police off to any possible politically-related crimes," he added.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, speaking after visiting Pracha in hospital, said he instructed police to speed up investigations into the shooting, and ordered security measures for politicians of all rallying parties be heightened.

Asked whether the shooting was intended to stir up political violence after the House dissolution was announced, the prime minister said he could not answer that and investigation results would tell the story behind it.

Abhisit said he would still use his armoured car at official functions during his caretaker period in office, but might seek a private one for his political rallies, in order not to violate the electoral law.

Pracha, speaking after his transfer to Rama IX hospital, said he knew who masterminded the attempt on his life. "If I die, there are some people who will be elected in my place," he said.

The pro-Red MP said the "death wish was called upon him" following a new electoral system dictating one-MP one-constituency results. He dismissed news reports that his rivalry with local politicians had led to the attempt on his life.

"The shooting stemmed from politics at the national level. I learned of the killing order through an official I know, who heard the son of a politician [talking about it], and two days after the House dissolution the shooting was carried out," he said. The gunmen "appeared like men in uniform", but he gave no further details.

Pracha said former prime minister and de facto Pheu Thai Party leader Thaksin Shinawatra called to give him moral support after the shooting.

National police chief Pol General Wichean Potephosree said the most likely motive behind the shooting was political conflict Pracha may have had with his opponents.

Police will begin detaining career gunmen on a blacklist and have opened a police centre to monitor political crimes.

Provinces where gun-for-hire rackets are active are Udon Thani, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan and Nakhon Ratchasima, he said.

Five shots were fired at Pracha's sedan while he was on the way home, by an unknown number of gunmen in and unknown type of vehicle. Pracha is now in a safe condition after a lone bullet was removed from his back.

Wichean said the bullet was a .223 calibre, but gave no other details. The .223 cartridge is used with an advanced model of M-16 rifle, which requires a shooter with higher skill than average.

Crime scene inspection could uncover no spent cartridges from an M-16 rifle at the scene, possibly because they dropped inside the gunmen's vehicle, likely a sedan or a pickup truck.

Pol Lt General Jaramphorn Suramanee, chief crime scene investigator, said five pieces of bullet fragment were found in Pracha's sedan.

Eight security cameras at the scene, near the main post office in Phra Pra Daeng district, caught no images of the gunmen or of any shooting.

Election Commission secretary-general Suthiphol Thaweechaikarn called on political candidates to adopt their own security measures during their rallies, as the EC was not empowered to do so. EC's own security will be heightened during activities on May 19-23 at the Thai-Japanese stadium in Din Daeng district.

The Nation
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Offline Johnnie F.

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Re: Run-up to the election with violence?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2011, 04:15:40 AM »
Ubon Ratchathani seen as trouble hotspot

Ubon Ratchathani is high on the police watchlist of provinces where acts of violence are expected in the lead-up to the July 3 general election.

If it fits, wear it

Pheu Thai leader Yongyuth Wichaidit, left, helps Pracharaj leader Sanoh Thienthong, centre, put on a Pheu Thai Party jacket after Mr Sanoh accepted an invitation to join the party to contest the July 3 election. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

The lower northeastern province has been marked in red by Provincial Police Region 3, the colour for expected outbreaks of severe violence.

The police bureau is responsible for enforcing the law against electoral irregularities in the eight provinces of the Lower Northeast.

The police hope to curb political conflicts that can reach levels resulting in the shootings and killings of people involved in elections, said deputy Provincial Police Region 3 Korakot Sariya.

Intense rivalry for seats is expected in Ubon Ratchathani, as many parties claim it as a stronghold.

No reports of violence have emerged in other large northeastern provinces such as Nakhon Ratchasima and Buri Ram, a stronghold of key coalition partner the Bhumjaithai Party, Pol Maj Gen Korakot said.

Other security measures against election-related violence include listing the names of people suspected to be hired gunmen, cracking down on the illegal possession of weapons and keeping tabs on party canvassers, influential figures and suspicious characters, Pol Maj Gen Korakot added.

Royal Thai Police Office spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said yesterday three candidates have asked police to escort them during the election period.

One of them is running for a constituency seat in Ratchaburi.

Police in Bangkok are keeping an eye on Don Muang, Pomprap Sattruphai and Bang Bon districts where intense competition between candidates is expected, said city police spokesman Piya Uthayo.

A pickup truck belonging to a close associate of a potential Pheu Thai Party candidate was damaged in a grenade blast in Samut Prakan.

The grenade was hurled at a truck owned by Manot Rueanthong. It exploded but no one was injured.

The truck was parked in front of Mr Manot's house in Samut Prakan's Bang Phli district in the early hours of the morning, police said.

Mr Manot is a close aide of Worachai Hema, a potential Pheu Thai candidate in Samut Prakan.

Police said the attack was aimed at scaring Mr Manot from helping Mr Worachai in the campaign.

On Tuesday, former Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan Pracha Prasopdee was injured when a man opened fire on his car in Phra Pradaeng district of the province.

In the northern province of Phayao, a local red shirt group has vowed to monitor the work of election officials. It is concerned that some officials may be biased.

Siriwat Chupamattha, coordinator of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship in Phayao, claimed some election officials were connected to prominent politicians.

Bangkok Post
No matter how tall the mountain is, it cannot block the sun. - Chinese Proverb