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Hardliner 'Ko Tee' has been cut adrift

Pheu Thai Party sees red shirt as a liability after his alleged anti-monarchy remarks

Pheu Thai Party looks to have decided to isolate pro-government hardliner Wuthipong Kottham-makhun after he allegedly made remarks offensive to the monarchy.

The Thaksin camp's legitimacy has long been discredited due to allegations that people connected to Pheu Thai were involved in an alleged plot to topple the monarchy.

It is too risky to side with Wuthipong, who is known as Ko Tee, even though Pheu Thai wants to use hardcore red shirts to its advantage in certain situations.

The party had earlier ignored the outspoken red shirt's sensitive campaign involving the monarchy.

But if the offence is too obvious, the party, which cannot afford to forgo its allegiance to the monarchy, has no choice but to severe ties with pro-government groups like that led by Wuthipong.

There are several types of reds. If the level of their ideological fervour is rated by the intensity of the colour, they range from pale to medium to bright red.

Each group comes together when they share the same goal and are ready to split when they encounter conflict among themselves.

Leading a small group of red followers, Wuthipong has made a name for himself with his recent high-profile political activities.

Behind several clashes

He was allegedly behind several clashes between red shirts and an anti-government group led by Phra Buddha Issara and the notorious shooting at Lak Si that involved the so-called "popcorn" gunmen on the eve of the February 2 election.

His controversial billboards promoting separatism prompted the military to take a tough stance against him. The lese majeste charge against him has resulted in police launching a manhunt for him.

Wuthipong did not hide his anger in his latest interview, in which he said the caretaker government had "butchered the donkey after it finished its job on the mill''.

"The person who signed the order to have me arrested is Yingluck, because she wants to kow-tow to courtiers," he said.

"She has been duped into killing the person that loves and has faith in her."

Wuthipong said the police had also chosen sides because of the changing political situation.

He said National Police Chief General Adul Saengsingkaew and his deputy General Aek Angsananont had frequently dined at the homes of influential figures, and yellow-shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul.

"Thaksin is now having heartache that his sister is kow-towing to courtiers,'' he said.

The red shirt hard man sounds desperate, apparently because there is a slim chance Pheu Thai will rescue him.

Political observers agreed with this, saying that Ko Tee is not a key member of Pheu Thai or the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship. He also does not lead a large group of followers and is not close to Thaksin.

The offence he appears to have committed is too heavy a burden for the party to shoulder.

The controversy surrounding Wuthipong reflects the reality that the red shirts are far from united, because of group's different outlooks.

However, when the time comes for them to join forces to fight for the same goal, it is likely they will - but Wuthipong will obviously not be included.


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