Bombing of Thai PM’s Plane Bewilders Visiting Officials

The chairman of the Thai Se­nate Committee on Foreign Af­fairs said on Tuesday that he was “baffled and befuddled” by Sa­turday’s bombing of a jetliner at Bangkok International Airport, an incident now characterized as an as­­sassination attempt on Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shina­watra.

“We are as baffled and befuddled as most people because he, namely the Prime Minister and his government, has not come out with anything controversial that would attract such hostility,” said Kraisak Choonhavan, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Fo­r­eign Affairs, speaking to a reporter between stops on a state visit to Phnom Penh Tuesday.

The blast killed an airplane steward and injured seven others who were preparing the nearly empty plane for passengers. The bomb was reportedly placed near the seats that Thaksin and his son were to sit in on a flight to Chiang Mai that afternoon.

Kraisak Choonhavan said the bombing was a marked change of course for political battles in Thailand, which has never seen a Prime Minister assassinated.

“It‘s always been that the enemies, be they bureaucratic or otherwise, always had the grace to allow the Prime Minister to exit the country,” he said.

Kraisak Choonhavan downplayed press speculation that the bomb could have been the work of drug dealers upset with Thak­sin’s stated plans to crack down on a rampant drug trade.

The delegation from the Thai Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs flew from Bangkok to Siem Reap on Monday. They arrived in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, touring the studios of TV5 and Tuol Sleng museum before meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen Tuesday.

The delegation has plans to meet with Prince Ranariddh and Sen­ate President Chea Sim, as well as various government commissions before departing for Bangkok on Thursday.

A second senator, who spoke but declined to provide his name, said the situation is still unfolding as investigators pursue their leads.

“I think they are waiting for the final investigation and [until then] the security will be tightened be­cause it was only beginning to be en­forced this month to have luggage x-rayed for internal flights,” he said.



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