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Thai police arrest `Red Shirt` over deadly attacks

International Desk |
Update: 2010-07-14 19:24:25

BANGKOK:  Thai police said Thursday they had arrested an anti-government "Red Shirt" who was a close aide to an assassinated rogue general in connection with a series of attacks in Bangkok.

Surachai Thewarat, 25, is accused of being involved in incidents including a deadly drive-by shooting at a police checkpoint in May during a mass opposition rally in the capital.

"He was arrested without resistance after more than 10 commandos stormed his hotel room" in central Lop Buri province early Thursday, police Major General Tanaphon Sonthet told AFP.

The suspect, who faces charges of terrorism, is reported to have recently returned from Cambodia where had been hiding with other fugitive Red Shirts.

Tanaphon said Surachai was a close aide of Major General Khattiya Sawasdiphol, an unofficial security adviser to the red-clad movement who was shot dead in May -- apparently by a sniper -- during a mass opposition rally.

The Reds` two-month protest in central Bangkok descended into several outbreaks of violence that left 90 people dead and nearly 1,900 injured, ending in a bloody army crackdown in May.

The authorities have used emergency powers to arrest hundreds of suspects, including leaders of the Red Shirts, who were campaigning for elections they hoped would oust a government they accuse of being elitist and undemocratic.

BDST:  151616 HRS, July 15, 2010

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