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NEWS- Police heighten surveillance,

Subject: NEWS- Police heighten surveillance, security at Burma embassy

Tuesday, December 14 12:38 AM SGT 

Police heighten surveillance, security at Burma embassy
THE Police have strengthened their surveillance and security protection
for the Burmese embassy following a renewed threat by a militant Burmese
group that seized the diplomatic compound in early October. 

Pol Maj-Gen Somphop Sakuntawipat, commander of the Police Metropolitan
Zone 6, said yesterday that he had instructed the Yannawa Police
Station, which is responsible for the Burmese Embassy, to co-ordinate
closely with all units of Thai police intelligence. 

He said the surveillance, which had been in force since Dec 9, had
worked well and so far there had been no indication of any violence
against the diplomatic mission. 

Somphop said it would be ''a miracle'' if the armed Burmese militants
could attack and capture the embassy again. The seizure on Oct 1 was
possible because the embassy had no proper screening of visitors, he

''Now the Burmese embassy has strengthened its security measures and
imposed very strict checks of people going in and out of the compound
including the installation of closed-circuit televisions and
checkpoints,'' said the police general. 

Moreover, security guards were patrolling the premises around the clock
at all entry points inside and outside the compound, he added. 

With or without a threat from the armed group, Somphop said Thai
authorities had the responsibility to provide full security to foreign
diplomatic missions in Thailand whether or not there was an official
diplomatic request. 

Such responsibility was part of the country's measure to oversee
internal peace and stability, he added. 

A group of five Burmese gunmen who called themselves Vigorous Burmese
Student Warriors held over 80 Burmese and non-Burmese hostage at the
embassy for 25 hours before releasing them unharmed in exchange for
their flight to safety. 

The leader of the group Johnny or Kyaw Ni told The Associated Press in
an interview last week at a border hideout on the Thai-Burmese border
that his group had planned to strike again. 

However, he did not elaborate. 

He also disclosed that his group had planned to kill the Burmese
Ambassador U Hla Maung during October's raid, adding that the envoy was
lucky to be alive as he had left the compound just five minutes before
the seizure. 

Johnny said his group was also prepared to kill four other Burmese
citizens if they had to. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Agriculture Minister Arkom Engchuan said yesterday
that Thailand stood ready to hold talks with the Burmese junta on the
reopening of the Burmese waters for Thailand's fishing fleet. 

Rangoon closed its waters to Thai boats shortly after the embassy
seizure and has since refused to resolve the problem. 

Arkom said Burma was well aware that it was the only fishing source for
Thai fishing industries and thus wanted to reform fishing contracts,
rules and regulations for Thai fishing companies. 

The Nation