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Updated: July 16, 2010 18:13 IST

Thai terror suspect confesses to attacking Bangkok hotel

DPA
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A bomb suspect Surachai Tevaratana, 25, covers his head with towel as he is shown at a news conference at police special branch office on Thursdayin Bangkok. Photo: AP.
A bomb suspect Surachai Tevaratana, 25, covers his head with towel as he is shown at a news conference at police special branch office on Thursdayin Bangkok. Photo: AP.

A member of Thailand’s anti—government protest movement confessed to firing a rocket propelled—grenade at a Bangkok hotel and other acts of violence, authorities claimed on Friday.

Surachai Thewarathad, 25, an aide to rebel Major General Khattiya Sawasdipol, the military commander of the red—shirt movement, was arrested on Thursday in a hotel in Lopburi province after being on the run for weeks.

Authorities said Surachai was a key suspect behind several violent acts that occurred during the protests in Bangkok between March and May, which left 90 people dead and parts of the city in flames.

Department of Special Investigation (DSI) director—general Tharit Pengdit told a press conference that Surachai had confessed to firing a grenade at the Dusit Thani Hotel on May 17, days after his boss Khattiya had been shot in the head in front of the hotel.

Surachai allegedly told investigators he fired on the hotel as an act of reprisal, The Nation newspaper website reported. It was rumoured that assassins used the hotel’s rooftop to shoot Khattiya.

Surachai is deemed a key witness in the government’s case against the leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), better known as red shirts.

Most of the UDD leadership surrendered on May 19 after a government crackdown on their main protest site at Ratchaprasong road, a shopping district the protestors occupied for six weeks.

Many UDD leaders have been charged with terrorism, for allowing heavily armed elements within their movement to attack government troops and installations.

The DSI has accused Surachai of eight counts of armed attacks between April 10 and May 19.

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