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Old 11-06-2011, 02:22 AM   #2225 (permalink)
StrontiumDog
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Bangkok Post : Prayuth gives nod to target Pheu Thai

Prayuth gives nod to target Pheu Thai Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has given the green light to army officials to launch a war of words with the Pheu Thai Party's politicians who criticise the army's role.

At the same time, he has told high-ranking army officers he is ready to quit if the political pressure upon him becomes too great.

"Don't be worried. If they lambast me too much, pressure me too much, I'll just quit. I've already tried my best to do my job," an army source quoted Gen Prayuth as saying during the army's morning briefing session yesterday.

Gen Prayuth did not elaborate on which particular scenario he was talking about but army officials understood he was referring to the situation after the general election if Pheu Thai wins and becomes the ruling party.

Gen Prayuth fumed on Thursday over an alleged attempt by a Pheu Thai election candidate to obstruct the 315 anti-drugs task force's work in Bangkok, saying he would flood the area with soldiers to assist the government in its drug crackdown.

This drew fierce criticism from Pheu Thai Party politicians and supporters.

His angry outburst followed an incident in which Pheu Thai candidate and former MP Pairoj Isarasereepong and his aides allegedly intimidated three military members of the task force who were conducting a search for drugs at Sap Charoen estate in Nong Chok district on May 23.

The source added the army chief had also encouraged all army officers to counter allegations and criticism of the military by the Pheu Thai Party.

Nevertheless, he told the officers not to name anyone but only refer to them as "good guys" and "thugs".

Chaturon Chaisaeng, a banned politician from the dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party, criticised Gen Prayuth on his Twitter page yesterday, saying the army chief's remarks on Thursday about the 315 task force were inappropriate.

"He seems to have forgotten that he is the army chief, not a gang leader who will not let anyone offend," wrote Mr Chaturon.

Mr Chaturon also asked whether Gen Prayuth and the army were intent on cracking down on drug traffickers as they claimed, or actually trying to harass certain election candidates.

"His acts were seen as intimidating candidates and damaging the election atmosphere and this could lead people to view him as not neutral," Mr Chaturon said.
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