BANGKOK, Jan 15 -- Refuting accusations by an activist Thailand Patriots Network (TPN) group that senior Thai military officers have made gains along the Thai-Cambodian border, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said Saturday no high ranking military officers received money for personal gain as charged.
He also gave assurance that Thai forces along the border are sufficient and there is no need for reinforcements.
Activists from the TPN, the so-called patriots on Friday rallied at the Defense Ministry calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.
They charged that the Abhisit government is sitting by idly after the arrest of the Thais at the border Dec 29 on Cambodian charges that they had intruded into Cambodian territory, when the so-called 'patriots' believed themselves to be on Thai soil.
The demonstrators also charged that senior Thai military officers chose to stay idle because several had received payoffs on the border.
Mr Suthep said the TPN accusations were unfair to Gen Prawit because he is a major force coordinating with Cambodian government leaders in a bid to bring the seven detainees back to Thailand.
The deputy premier also said no senior Thai military officers had been paid off as charged by the activists.
The deputy premier said that current movements by the so-called patriots would not affect the stability of the Thai government because “a majority of the people don’t want violence” and without the support of the public the group could not be successful.
He emphasised that the government is trying assure that the activists stay within the law in their actions.
On reports that Cambodia has reinforced its troops along the Thai border at Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket, Mr Suthep urged Thais not to panic, saying that Thai troops are ready to defend the sovereignty of the country.
The deputy premier will query the military as to whether the reinforcement reports are true.
It is still unnecessary to reinforce Thai troops along the border, he said.
As five of the seven Thais are still in custody denied bail by the Cambodian court, Mr Suthep said, it is the responsibility of the Foreign Affairs Ministry to find ways of freeing them, but according to rules and regulations.
On plans by Democrat MPs to travel to Phnom Penh to visit Panich Vikietsreth, an MP for Bangkok and member of the party, Mr Suthep said he would ask the lawmakers not to do so as it could send a wrong signal to Phnom Penh.
The Cambodian authorities might react negatively if their feel the planned visit is aimed at pressuring them to release all the detained Thais. (MCOT online news