Thai Queen's guards minding Prayuth's back

Thai Queen's guards minding Prayuth's back
Thailand Prime Minister and junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Despite the seemingly calm political situation, security has been heightened around General Prayuth Chan-ocha since he set foot in Government House on Tuesday to start serving as prime minister.

Tight security was provided on Friday for Prayuth, who is also head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), when he announced his government's policy statement before the National Legislative Assembly and later visited Sukhothai to inspect the flooding situation.

Most of the prime minister's bodyguards are soldiers from the Army's 21st Infantry Regiment of the Royal Guards in Chon Buri, which is known as "the Queen's guards". Prayuth was the regiment commander in the earlier days of his military career.

Prayuth's security details are not totally new - they also include many of his usual bodyguards.

The team leader Lt-Colonel Ekdanai Julobon, commander of the regiment's Second Infantry Battalion, has provided security for him since he became the Army commander-in-chief in 2010.

Ekdanai also was in the security detail of former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The new PM's bodyguards are mostly from the regiment's Second Infantry Battalion.

They are divided into two teams, with each one headed by an Army captain. The teams are supposed to work on alternate days, although they may have to work together on some days.

Each team includes 10 to 15 members of an advance unit who work with the security officers in areas that prime minister is due to visit. The advance unit is supposed to survey the destination about 30 minutes before the leader arrives.

In the PM's motorcade, there are military police on big bikes in addition to well-armed bodyguards riding motorcycles.

The security details from the 21st Infantry Regiment of the Royal Guards had to work hard during the political unrest in 2010 when then-PM Abhisit and deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban became the targets of attacks from militant red shirts.

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