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Cambodians smuggled in for violent attacks: Navy

Senior officer claims 'men in black' here too but police can't find them

A senior Navy officer alleged yesterday that Cambodians have been smuggled into Thailand to carry out violent attacks on anti-government protesters - similar, he said, to what happened prior to the red-shirt turmoil in Bangkok mid-2010.

Rear Admiral Winai Klom-in, commander of the Navy’s Naval Special Warfare Command, said 10 vans carrying Cambodians entered Thailand through the eastern border on Monday night.

"It's the police's work to check this out, with their many detectives available in all jurisdictions. I don't understand why the police have neglected their responsibility on this," he said.

Winai also accused the "men in black" - military men who he said were linked with the pro-government red-shirt movement, of being behind both grenade attacks on crowds of protesters, on Banthad Thong Road during a march last Friday, and at the Victory Monument rally site last Sunday.

One man was killed in the first attack and dozens more injured in both blasts.

"The way the person threw that grenade [on Sunday], in the eye of military-trained people like us, shows where these people were trained.

"To me, I am confident that it's the same training given to the 'men in black' during the red-shirt protests in 2009 and 2010," he said.

Asked if he thought people linked "with state authorities" were behind last Sunday's attack and the 'men in black', Winai said: "The incidents occurred just recently, and, with abundant personnel responsible for investigations, what is being done?

"People across the country are asking the same question, like I would like to ask.

"Whatever you do now, please stop. Thais must not kill Thais, or must not have foreigners kill their countrymen. These things should never happen in Thailand," he said.

Asked if "those in power" planned to play "hard ball" against protesters in the anti-government movement this week, Winai said the violence had escalated long ago.

"I would like to ask what wrong the protesters have done. They have done nothing wrong nor acted violently."

The Navy reaffirmed yesterday that the three armed Navy officers who were detained by police last week were part of a special drug crackdown, its secretary Rear Admiral Kan Diubon said.

They were part of a 10-member team officially working undercover to gather intelligence and information about the smuggling of drugs from the east to the capital.

Police arrested and detained the three Navy officers at a road checkpoint last Wednesday after weapons including guns were found in their vehicle. The search also revealed security cards of the Students Network.

Kan said after the incident, all officers were ordered to return to their office to prevent further misunderstanding or possible conflicts at the demonstration. Referring to the security guard's cards, the general said it was necessary for the men to have them to facilitate their investigation at rally sites. The vehicle and weapons were officially registered for use on the mission, he said.


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