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Thais move to snare Bang Ron: Leave
- Subject: Thais move to snare Bang Ron: Leave
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 21:46:00
Subject: Thais move to snare Bang Ron: Leave to cross border sought from Burmese
October 30, 1998
Thais move to snare
Leave to cross border sought from
Burma is being asked to allow a Thai force across the border to
arrest Surachai "Bang Ron" Ngernthongfoo, the drug fugitive believed
hiding opposite Kanchanaburi.
Lt-Gen Thaveep Suwansing, the First Army commander, has assigned
Col Sakol Chuensakul, deputy commander of the 9th Infantry
Division, to negotiate with Brig-Gen Chit Maung, military commander
of Phaya Tongsu area.
Brig-Gen Chit Maung wanted the force to carry out the mission by
night but the Thai side wanted it during the daytime, citing concerns
about clashes and casualties.
A military task force has been placed on alert along the border in
Sangkhla Buri district. A raiding unit of rangers from Pak Thong Chai
camp, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Kanchanaburi has been sent to an
area opposite Ban Nam Krirk on the Burmese side, where Bang Ron
was believed to be hiding.
Ranger radio frequencies and call signs have been ordered changed
and use of mobile phones banned for fear of interception by Bang Ron
and his colleagues.
A source said authorities had been told to watch certain foreign
non-governmental aid organisations believed linked to Bang Ron's
Five or six junior police officers in Sangkhla Buri, thought to have
collaborated with Bang Ron in the drug trade, have been transferred
out to facilitate the operation.
In Bangkok, police from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau and
Metropolitan Police said they wanted to trace a L/Cpl Vitoon
Klinkachorn, attached to the First Infantry Regiment.
There appeared to be doubts about a lance corporal of that name said
to have close ties to a Supreme Command general linked to Bang
Purchase orders for thousands of pills, and bank accounts showing
large cash transfers had been found in L/Cpl Vitoon's quarters.
However, L/Cpl Vitoon yesterday contacted Col Anut Tornsri, his
direct commander, insisting he had nothing do with Bang Ron or
Doubts about the involvement of the general were expressed by Gen
Thiradet Mephien, permanent secretary for defence.
Gen Thiradet said he met the general, a graduate from
Chulachomklao's Class 14, who also met Gen Arkkradet Sasiprapa,
deputy permanent secretary, to clear himself.
"He has nothing to do with Bang Ron and is still working as a staff
officer at the Office of Policy and Planning," said Gen Thiradet. The
allegation was unfair, he said, and damaged the general's reputation.
Gen Thiradet said the police had not made contact with the Defence
Ministry but would cooperate fully once an official request was made.
The ministry would not protect the general, a former deputy chief of
the Armed Forces Security Centre, if there was firm evidence against
him, he said.
The general also met Gen Chettha Thanajaro, former army
commander and now security adviser to Sanan Kachornprasart,
deputy prime minister.
Gen Mongkol Ampornpisit, the supreme commander, said police had
yet to bring formal charges in the case but pledged tough action
against any military officer involved in drugs trafficking.
Some drugs suspects had implicated the officer during police
interrogation but it was still unclear whether the general had really
been involved, he said.
"We have told the police the armed forces will cooperate fully and
they have asked us for time before they file charges," said Gen
Mongkol, a member of the government's drug suppression committee.
Gen Surayud Chulanont, the army commander, said unit chiefs would
be held responsible if their personnel were involved in the drugs trade.
"I've already told commanders at all levels to pay attention to the issue
as amphetamine abuse is widespread," he added.
© Copyright The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 1998
Last Modified: Fri, Oct 30, 1998
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