Soldiers Seize Alleged Redshirt Weapon Cache from Temple

Weapons and Redshirt memorabilia allegedly found by soldiers in a temple in Saraburi province, 17 March 2015.

SARABURI — Military officers say they discovered a weapon cache belonging to an underground militant group affiliated with the Redshirt movement at a temple in Saraburi province.

Officers displayed the weapons to reporters at a press conference today. 

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Soldiers and police display the cache in Saraburi province on 17 March 2015.

Maj.Gen. Adisorn Khorop, commander of a local army unit in Saraburi province, said soldiers discovered the cache during a raid on Seewalee Forest Monastery, located in Muaklek district. 

The cache consisted of two shotguns, four BB guns, one handgun, one homemade "pen gun," one hand grenade, one rifle, and over a hundred bullets for the firearms, said Maj.Gen. Adisorn.

The military also confiscated two radio devices, one motorcycle without a license plate, and a number of flags and memorabilia of the Redshirt movement. 

The temple's abbot, Phra Inta Sanyato, is now under arrest on charges of possessing firearms, ammunition, and radio equipment without proper permits. According Maj.Gen. Adisorn, the abbot denied having any knowledge of the weapons.

"The suspect contested the charges," said Maj.Gen. Adisorn. "He claimed that Redshirt groups have visited the temple for merit-making, and left behind these belongings when they departed from the temple."

Under martial law, which was imposed by the ruling junta last May, soldiers are authorized to conduct searches and arrests without a court warrant. 

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A pin of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the de facto leader of the Redshirt movement, was found with the weapons, officers said.

The junta, which seized power from a Redshirt-backed government on 22 May 2014, has accused the Redshirt movement of harboring armed elements inside its ranks. The Redshirt-allied militants are thought to be responsible for the drive-by shootings and grenade attacks on the anti-government protests that preceded the coup. 

Nearly 30 people died in the protests, which lasted from late November 2013 to 22 May 2014. Core leaders of the Redshirt's official organization have repeatedly denied any connection to the violence. 

In the days following the coup, 26 people were arrested in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen for allegedly plotting terrorist activities under the banner of Redshirt resistance. The case is ongoing. 

CORRECTION: Saraburi province is northeast of Bangkok but not considered "northeastern Thailand" as was originally reported. 

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