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Thu, December 28, 2006 : Last updated 16:13 pm (Thai local time)



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Home > Politics > Surayud denies train carriages allegation





Surayud denies train carriages allegation


Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont stands amid aerial photos showing his house in Nakhon Ratchasima during his explanation yesterday.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont yesterday denied a report - allegedly leaked to the press by an aide to General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh - that he illegally acquired four train compartments for his home in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The PM insisted his dealings had been clean and transparent.

During a press briefing at the Army Club, Surayud showed three aerial photos of his 20-rai residence allegedly taken on August 23, 2005 and explained its geography and how he selected this location for a retreat home.

"As you can see from these photos, there is no [train carriage] compartment," Surayud said.

Surayud, formerly the Army commander-in-chief, is an avid collector of model trains. He then joked to reporters that he had owned more than four train carriages but they were in Bangkok. He pointed to models placed in front of his podium, saying they were part of his collection. "I am a realistic person. I can explain any of your doubts," he said, adding that he would lead a group of reporters to visit his Nakhon Ratchasima residence after the New Year to clear up any suspicion.

However, no date was set.

An ex-military officer close to Chavalit was quoted on the weekend as saying his boss was scrutinising how four train carriages placed at Surayud's residence close to Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima were acquired, as he suspected they could have been illegally obtained.

Chavalit released a statement on Sunday, dismissing any involvement in the allegation.

Surayud believed the allegation would not lead to a rift with Chavalit. He said he staged the press briefing only to tell the truth to the public.








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