Thai PM denies fear as assassination plots revealed
Thu, Jul 01, 2010

BANGKOK - The Thai prime minister on Thursday dismissed fears about his safety after he was revealed to be the target of assassination plots, but announced plans to maintain a state of emergency across Bangkok.

National police chief General Pateep Tanprasert said Wednesday that premier Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban were targets after they ordered a military crackdown on mass anti-government protests in May.

"Intelligence reports show it from time to time, but all the security agencies who offer protection for high profile people are fully at work, so I personally do not worry at all," Abhisit told reporters.

"Nowadays some groups are ready to resort on violence, so we have to be more careful," he added.

The prime minister said senior judges and government officials were also believed to be targets for assassination.

"If they feel that they are intimidated or threatened they can ask for government security protection," he said.

"A culture of violence has already been introduced into Thai politics... but those who use violence will be dealt with."

The state of emergency, which hands sweeping powers to the police and military, is currently in place across about a third of Thailand after two months of anti-government protests in Bangkok that sparked bloody clashes.

The violence during the "Red Shirt" rally and the army crackdown on May 19 left 90 people dead, triggering a rampage by protesters.

The emergency decree is due to expire on July 7, but Abhisit said it would be extended in the capital and possibly elsewhere, although "for how long depends on the situation".

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