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Thai MP Brings Explosive Materials to Parliament to Expose Deficient Bomb Detectors

Wilawan Watcharasakwet
Bangkok
2019-10-30
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Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha reads the policy statement for his second term in office before parliament in Bangkok, July 25, 2019.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha reads the policy statement for his second term in office before parliament in Bangkok, July 25, 2019.
AP

A member of Thailand’s ruling coalition said he brought explosive materials into parliament on Wednesday to draw attention to his concerns about the deficiency of the detection devices slated to be used at the upcoming ASEAN Summit in Bangkok.

Mongkolkit Suksintharanon, an MP who leads the Thai Civilized Party and also serves as the House military affairs spokesman, said he asked explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officials to carry the materials through the detectors to prove they were not effective.

He said the demonstration intended to show that the devices should not be used for the summit of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related meetings, which are scheduled to run Thursday through Monday.

“Today I coordinated with the EOD to bring TNT into the parliament but the device was not able to detect it, so this parliament is not safe,” Mongkolkit told reporters.

Thai PBS reported the politician had two other scanners and a manufacturer’s representative to make the case for their effectiveness. He said those U.S.-made scanners would be given to the government to be used during the summit.

Meanwhile, the House speaker said he was not amused by Mongkolkit’s tactics.

“I have no conclusion now but I’m looking into this [to see] if he broke any laws,” House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, told reporters. He later ordered the parliament’s deputy secretary-general to investigate the incident.

Bangkok suffered a series of small bomb attacks in early August when the country hosted a series of ASEAN foreign minister-level meetings, which included the participation of U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and counterparts from China and Russia.

Police have filed charges against two men who were captured shortly after the attacks, and have identified 20 additional suspects. All are from Deep South where more than 7,000 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency reignited in January 2004.

Possessing explosives is punishable by prison sentences of one to 10 years, according to the gun and explosive act. Police officials could not be reached for comment on the lawmaker’s action.

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