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Security boost for Dr Narong's house and health ministry

More police patrols sought after top health Ministry official's home attacked

THE PUBLIC HEALTH Ministry will ask police to boost security at the home of its top official after an M-79 grenade attack on Sunday night, Dr Buncha Kakong, director of the ministry's central administration office, said.

Police would be asked to make more frequent patrols by the home of permanent secretary Dr Narong Sahametapat in Lak Si district. The move would also benefit residents of other homes in the area, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Narong said: "The public can look at the incident and think for themselves what caused the attack. I won't talk about politics [being the motive behind it]." He was speaking to reporters at the ministry as he came to work at the ministry as usual.

The home of Dr Narong was hit at about 11pm with a grenade attack but no one was harmed. Narong was not at home at the time of attack.

A 40mm grenade fired at his house hit a wall, causing a 10cm wide hole, damage to a parked car and slight damage to the property.

Explosives Ordnance Disposal commander Pol Colonel Kamthorn Uichairoen said the grenade was likely to have been fired from a launcher in a direct trajectory - not in the usual projectile manner, from near the entrance of Soi Chaeng Wattana 14, where the house is located.

Narong is known for opposing the caretaker Yingluck government. His latest act of defiance was his refusal to take part in a meeting of permanent secretaries last week called by the government's anti-protest operation, known as the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO).

He has seemed to support the anti-government campaigns led by Suthep Thaugsuban.

He warmly welcomed Suthep |and held talks with him recently when Suthep led protesters to the ministry.

Dr Buncha said safety measures would also be upgraded at the ministry. After 7pm, people and vehicles would only be allowed in and out through one gate. Every vehicle would be checked and people asked for their identity card. Some 20 more security cameras would be set up inside the ministry compound, he said.

A deputy spokesman for Pheu Thai Party, Anusorn Iamsa-ard, condemned the attack and people benefiting from it. He called on anyone who "led their organisations to show off political stances that were their own and different from the majority" to stop doing it.

"Such expression of political stances is not fair for all ministry officials," he said.

Narong has been lauded by the majority of doctors and medical professionals at government hospitals for his stance against the Pheu Thai-led government. But government hospitals that posted anti-corruption banners became targets of intimidation by pro-government red shirts.

Today, a group of public health officials will gather at 10am in front Narong's office to give moral support, Dr Buncha said.




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