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DSI says Methee 'implicated others'

Prominent red shirt Methee Amornwuthikul has implicated other people involved in the bloody April 10 clash with soldiers, the Department of Special Investigation said yesterday. "He has named names," said directorgeneral Tharit Pengdit.

Methee, a former actor, was arrested on Thursday morning for possessing military weapons belonging to the government. A machine gun belonging to the Army in his vehicle at the time of his arrest.

"He said he was keeping the weapon for future use," Tharit said. "He admitted he had also distributed other such weapons to his comrades."

The April 10 clash left 25 dead and more than 800 injured. Both sides suffered casualties, and afterwards the Army found many of its weapons went missing.

Tharit said Methee had planned to fight to the death if the government did not heed the demands of the Democratic Alliance of Democracy against Dictatorship (DAAD).

Since March 12, the DAAD and its redshirt supporters have demanded that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva quickly dissolve the House of Representatives.

Although Abhisit offered to dissolve the House in nine months, redshirt leaders refused to end their rally and ignored the government's call for further talks.

Instead, they led their supporters to the Rajprasong intersection, where the redshirt rally has since forced many businesses in the area, including big shopping malls and fivestar hotels, to shut down temporarily.

Tharit said Methee admitted to being on the front line when the red shirts clashed with soldiers on April 10.

"He did not identify himself as one of the 'men in black' but told us who those men were and admitted the order to shoot came from the redshirt side during the clash," Tharit said.

He said Methee claimed the number of men in black was quite high, but declined to give a specific number.

Video clips of the April 10 incident, as presented by the government, show heavily armed men in black mingling with the redshirt crowd. The government has called them "terrorists".

Tharit said Methee could face the death penalty if convicted of taking heavy war weapons away from soldiers.

He said Methee, who remains in custody, had also provided many other pieces of crucial information.

"He attended daily meetings with key redshirt members for planning. He named the venue of the meeting. It's near the Rajprasong intersection," Tharit said.

During a televisionpool programme, Tharit explained the DSI had now taken charge of cases relating to terrorism, threats against the authorities, attacks on people and illegal handling of the Army's war weapons. This is why Methee's case falls under the its jurisdiction.

He said the DSI would work closely with other relevant agencies in such cases, including the National Police, the National Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council.

Since Methee's arrest, redshirt leaders in the Rajprasong area have tried to distance themselves from him.

"He's only declared himself as an ally. He does not follow our orders. He's acted independently. It's just that when he showed up, he attended our activities. We don't know what he's done elsewhere," said Natthawut Saikua, another redshirt leader.

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