3 more to face arrest warrants in Sondhi assassination attempt case

sonthi_shot1

Arrest warrants will be issued for at least three more people in connection with the April assassination attempt on Sondhi Limthongkul, co-leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, a senior investigator said yesterday.

Police Lt General Aswin Kwanmuang, assistant national police chief who is part of the probe team, said the arrest warrants would be issued this week.

He said additional evidence had been found to link those people to the April 17 attack on Sondhi’s vehicle. “All were involved with the case as people carrying out the operation,” said Aswin.

Suthep Thaugsuban

Suthep Thaugsuban

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban denied he disagreed with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as to whether national police chief General Patcharawat Wongsuwan should be removed for allegedly obstructing investigation into the Sondhi case.

“Why should I get into conflict with the prime minister? I have known him and worked with him for almost 20 years while I have known the police chief for only the past five or six months. It’s not worthwhile for me to quarrel with [the PM],” Suthep said.

“My duty is to offer encouragement and support the prime minister so he can serve the country well. I am doing my job and you try to separate me from him, [which would] put the prime minister in trouble,” he said.

Suthep, however, insisted he saw no reason for removing Patcharawat as police chief. He said he had obtained no reports that Patcharawat obstructed the investigation into the Sondhi case.

Aswin said that he had reported to the prime minister on progress of the investigation, adding the probe had not run into a “dead end” as feared and that further investigations would be made. However, he added it would depend on the evidence whether the mastermind would be brought to justice.

He said police were hunting for the two suspects – a military sergeant and a police sergeant – against whom arrest warrants had been issued earlier. When asked if any military officer was among the three new suspects, Aswin just nodded.

According to a source familiar with the police investigation, the three are all military officers – a sub-lieutenant and two sergeants who are colleagues of Master Sgt Panya Srihaera, one of the two wanted fugitives, at the Special Welfare Command in Lop Buri.

In a related development, Prime Minister Abhisit said yesterday he would decide this week whether Patcharawat should be seconded to an inactive post at the Prime Minister’s Office.

He said he would consider and explain all relevant aspects behind whatever decision he made on the matter. “The goal, I reiterate, is to allow the case’s investigation to progress,” he said.

By Piyanart Srivalo,
Khwanhathai Malakarn
The Nation
Published on July 28, 2009

 

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