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Army orders probe into soldiers' arrests

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered a probe over the arrest of two armed soldiers near the anti-government Lumpini Park protest site.

The probe will be conducted by the staff judge advocate of the Lop Buri-based 2nd Infantry Battalion's 31st Infantry Regiment the King’s Guard.

Police arrested Sergeant Pitsanu Fuangrung and Lance-Corporal Nattawut Cherdsoongnern on Sunday night near the People's Democratic Reform Committee site.

Maj-General Varah Boonyasit, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, said yesterday that the military would let the police carry out their investigation in according with normal procedures.

He said the police investigation would determine whether the soldiers were personally hired to carry out work and if they had committed an offence, they would not be protected.

The staff judge advocate will conduct a joint probe with police in accordance with Defence Ministry directives.

Varah said the initial investigation had found that one of the seized guns was a modified M16A1, with its butt sawn off. The military has never used the type. The other seized gun is an M4.

A source said the 31st Infantry Regiment would cooperate with police because the military unit had nothing to do with the two soldiers' activities and suspected they were moonlighting.

The source said the regiment used only M16 and Travo guns, with the M4 and the M16A1 used by several military units including the Special Welfare Command and the Royal Thai Navy Seals.

Lt-General Chalermchai Sithisart, the Special Warfare Command chief, said he would conduct a probe to determine if the M4 and M16A1 belonged to his unit.

Meanwhile, locals yesterday found two dud M79 grenades near PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban's Bangkok house.

The soccer-pitch-sized area where the grenades were found is being turned into parking for private bus operators and landfill work is being carried out.

The first grenade was found 30 metres from Suthep's house. The head was smashed.

Security officials stationed at Suthep's house placed two car tyres around the grenade as a safety precaution.

Another dud grenade was found 60 metres from the home.


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