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General news >> Saturday May 12, 2007

Panlop plans to first tackle rallies in city

He has 'secret tricks' to disperse crowds


Sacred celebrations Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont talks to Phra Prommangalajarn, also known as Panyanantha Bhikkhu, while attending the revered monk's 96th birthday celebrations at Wat Chonlapratanrungsarit in Nonthaburi yesterday. — SAROT MEKSOPHAWANNAKUL

Gen Panlop Pinmanee, the newly-appointed public relations adviser to the director of the Internal Security Operations Command, yesterday announced that his first assignment is to deal with political rallies in Bangkok. He said he would be supported by a network of about 700,000 Isoc supporters nationwide which he developed during the past five years in which he served as Isoc deputy director. But he would apply a negotiated approach that would not lead to violent clashes or imperil demonstrators, he said.

''Don't see me as a man who favours violence,'' said the man whom human rights activists condemn for ordering the attack on the Krue Se mosque in 2004, in which 32 militants were killed.

''I don't support the idea of confronting a group of demonstrators with another group of people,'' he added. ''Instead, I'll have my people explain to demonstrators and others who haven't yet understood the CNS and the government.'' On the first day of his new job yesterday, Gen Panlop met Gen Sonthi Boonyarataklin, Isoc director, army chief and head of the Council of National Security, for an hour.

Gen Sonthi asked him for help in public relations and improving the security situation in the deep South, he said. But he will tackle the political rallies in Bangkok first. Most demonstrators in rallies these days were paid to join them, Gen Panlop said. And he has secret tricks to disperse such organised groups, he said.

He knows the nature of rally demonstrators by heart, he said, pointing out that he used to hold and manage rallies himself. He cited the political rallies of middle-class demonstrators in 1991 against then Prime Minister Suchinda Kraprayoon prior to the uprising in May 1992.

Gen Panlop returns to Isoc, as public relations adviser to the director, nine months after being removed by then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

At the time, he was suspected of involvement in the alleged car bomb plot against Mr Thaksin on Aug 9 last year.

On May 3, Gen Sonthi recommended that Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont appoint Gen Panlop as his public relations adviser at Isoc.

After meeting Gen Sonthi, he remarked to reporters: ''My Class 7 classmates at the Chulachomklao Military Academy called Maj-Gen Manoonkrit Roopkachorn a cat with nine lives. But they called me a cat with 10 lives,'' he added.

Though wearing a different hat now, Gen Panlop yesterday returned to the same office at Isoc which he used while serving as its deputy director.

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