Junta vows crackdown on provocateurs

national January 31, 2015 01:00


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NCPO threatens 'decisive measures' after three violations if they don't 'adjust their attitudes'

THE JUNTA has threatened to take “decisive measures” against political provocateurs who fail to “adjust their attitudes” even after being summoned and reporting to the authorities three times.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday pledged to take legal action against people who threaten to use violence to protest against the government and state officials. 
The premier referred to politicians who said they would stage rallies and violence against the government to stop reconciliation, and would create violence like that seen in the South.
“It is dangerous [to say that] because it is like a kind of terrorism,” he said during his weekly television programme. 
The government did not want to suppress their freedom, but such remarks would affect safety, he added. 
From now on, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will closely monitor every movement of the suspected provocateurs – be it underground, on the ground, and online – that is aimed at destabilising social order, an NCPO source said. 
According to the NCPO, the authority will not allow more than three violations. The so-called “attitude readjustment” would be applied in the very first place. If such a practice persists, the NCPO would then apply stricter measures, the source said. 
“The NCPO already has a record of those who post [online] comments” that may threaten the existing order, according to the source. “A rapid task-force will be sent to invite the persons involved and in a very relaxing manner we’ll establish a common understanding,” said the source. 
Meanwhile, more critics of the military-led government would be invited to appear before the junta if they failed to understand the current political situation, Deputy Defence Minister and Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr said yesterday.
“If they still offer opinions or act in a way to create chaos, or don’t understand [what we are doing], we need to invite them,” he said. Udomdej insisted that the summons were simply invitations to the individuals concerned with a view to asking for their cooperation.
More critics were summoned yesterday for talks with senior Army officers, with military authorities saying that this was designed to change their negative attitudes regarding the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which seized power in May last year.
At least five people – four former ministers, a red-shirt leader and ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s lawyer – were ordered to report over the past week.
Nuttawut Saikuar, a key leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, which sided with the previous government that was toppled in the military takeover, was called in for talks with a representative of the NCPO. 
Nuttawut surrendered to the military at First Army Region headquarters in Bangkok at 9am yesterday. He was released after about an hour and returned home.
The former deputy commerce minister said after that he had had a frank discussion with NCPO representatives and that there were “neither threats nor a stern attitude” from the military officers. 
He said they had exchanged views and reached a conclusion to cooperate in order to “avoid confrontation and chaos” in the country.
Insisting that he would “remain unchanged”, Nuttawut said he would take responsibility for whatever he did in the future and that he had told the officers during the talks that he had “no intention to obstruct or oppose” the government and what he had said was just his own opinion.
An NCPO representative later picked up former energy minister Pichai Naripthaphan at his home in central Bangkok for a similar purpose. Pichai had earlier criticised the government’s policy on energy, saying it would be without effect if the government scrapped its plan to open bidding for a new round of petroleum concessions.
He told journalists before boarding a bus and heading for yesterday’s talks that he was prepared to explain his position to the NCPO – and even to the prime minister – on every subject, not only regarding energy.
Earlier this week, NCPO officials summoned former education minister Chaturon Chaisang and ex-deputy prime minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul for similar talks. 
Meanwhile, former Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema has been summoned to appear before the NCPO next Monday.