Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Thai PM Thaksin brushes off assassination threat


Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawa-tra said yesterday that there have been intelligence reports of a plot to assassinate him, but he downplayed the threat as "nothing to worry about."

Thaksin, who has been at the center of a months-long political crisis, said the head of the National Intelligence Agency had shown him a copy of the report about the plot. He did not give any details.

"There is nothing to worry about," he said when asked by journalists to confirm reports of an assassination plot. "We just increased security measures."

Thaksin normally has 12 bodyguards, but the National Security Center (NSC) recently provided him 30 more security agents, an army general who works closely with the NSC said on Wednesday.

Thaksin also hired an additional 10 guards to protect his family, the army general said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Reporters, who previously had unfettered access to the premier as he entered and left buildings, are no longer allowed to get close to him.

Anger against Thaksin was inflamed by a cryptic remark he made earlier this month that many have interpreted as criticism of the king or his top adviser -- which would be unprecedented in modern Thai history.

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