ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation
Democrat Party deputy leader Chaiwut Bannawat’s house in the border province of Tak was searched yesterday by a joint force of some 50 police and military officers.
By THE NATION
‘Smuggled weapons may have been for political purposes’; house of democrat deputy leader Chaiwut searched.
A RETIRED ARMY major-general has been linked to a junior military officer arrested last Saturday on suspicion of smuggling a large quantity of weapons from Cambodia, a security source said yesterday.
An initial investigation indicated the possibility that the smuggled arms were being used for political purposes ahead of the next general election, according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The major-general was described by the source as having close ties with a politician who is against the post-coup government.
This high-ranking officer is also close to Flight Sergeant Pakhin Detphong, who drove the pickup truck that carried the weapons, according to the source. The vehicle was involved in a road accident in Trat province.
Meanwhile, Democrat Party deputy leader Chaiwut Bannawat’s house in the border province of Tak was searched yesterday by a joint force of some 50 police and military officers.
The surprise operation took place while an investigation is under way into the large number of weapons found in a pickup truck involved in a road accident in the eastern seaboard province of Trat on Saturday.
Pakhin, from the Internal Security Operations Command, who drove the vehicle, later confessed that he had smuggled the weapons from Cambodia for sale to Karen rebels in Myanmar.
A source familiar with the operation said yesterday that authorities were focusing on local influential figures as part of a “clean-up” attempt following the discovery of weapons in Trat and an explosive device in Tak recently. However, the source did not elaborate and it remained unclear if there was any connection between the two events. Nothing illegal was found during the search of Chaiwut’s house in Tak’s Mae Sot district, and no arrests were made. Chaiwut is a former member of Parliament for Tak and a former industry minister.
Reporters and passers-by were prohibited from taking photographs or recording videos of the search operation. Those who tried were stopped and told to delete the photos and videos from their cameras immediately.
Also in Tak yesterday, the house of provincial administrative organisation president Nattawut Thaweekuakulkit in Muang district was also searched by a separate group of some 80 officers. Four firearms and dozens of rounds of ammunition were found during the search.
An Immigration Police investigation found that Air Force officer Pakhin, 40, had no record of leaving the country via the Trat border checkpoint, Immigration Bureau chief Police Lt-General Natthorn Prosunthorn said yesterday. However, that was not the case with the two other suspects who were arrested with Pakhin. Cambodian Pisit Liang, 29, was found to have visited Thailand 231 times while Trat resident Jakkapong Krairiang, 37, had visited Cambodia 11 times, according to the immigration police chief.
A police investigation found that Pisit’s alleged weapons smuggling was not linked to a high-ranking official in Cambodia as some news reports had previously suggested.
Deputy Premier and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday said he had phoned his Cambodian counterpart, General Tea Banh about the matter. He said Tea Banh had called on the Thai media that linked him to the alleged smuggling ring to offer an official apology to the Cambodian government.
In a related development, officials from the Judge Advocate-General’s Department yesterday filed a police complaint against three military officers and 15 civilians allegedly involved in selling weapons online.
Many grenades were found in an unclaimed parcel at an outlet of private courier service Kerry Express in Bangkok’s Bang Khen district.
The suspects were all charged with possessing illegal firearms and explosive devices, he added. All the suspects were being detained at the 11th Military Circle command.