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Wednesday, October 6, 1999 Published at 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Bangkok siege 'stank of conspiracy'

Hostages inside the embassy during the siege

By the BBC's Charlotte Bevan in Bangkok

In its Wednesday edition, Burma's state media, the New Light of Myanmar, said the siege at the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok over the weekend could have a negative impact on the relationship between Thailand and Burma.

While officially Burmese military leaders are telling the Thais that they are relieved at the peaceful end to the siege, Burma's state media -- renowned for its use of strong language -- said that the whole embassy affair was fishy to say the least, and stank of conspiracy.

[ image: Gunmen triumphant as they fly to border]
Gunmen triumphant as they fly to border
After holding 40 people hostage for 26 hours, the gunmen were transported by helicopter to the Thai/Burma border last Saturday with no-one being seriously injured.

Thailand's prime minister has admitted that lapses in intelligence and security resulted in the embassy being taken by storm.

In a move that is likely to appease the Burmese authorities however, Thai security officials met to review the prevention of international terrorism on Thai soil.

Students under surveillance

They have announced a crackdown on an estimated 2,000 exiled Burmese students living in Bangkok and at a holding centre on the Thai/Burma border west of the capital, called Maneeloy, which was set up four years ago.

[ image: Burmese students will have less freedom]
Burmese students will have less freedom
Thai authorities believe it is from this open centre that the gunmen who took the Embassy by siege originated.

The secretary-general of Thailand's National Security Council said students at Maneeloy and living in Bangkok would no longer be able to roam freely.

All 2,000 would have to be registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. If considered illegal migrants, they would be deported.

If not, once registered, they would be moved to Maneeloy where security would also be tightened up.

The National Security chief also said that the authorities would be talking with UNHCR to speed up the process of sending these students to third countries.

But a UNHCR spokesman said that that would be difficult because the process depended on third countries themselves being prepared to take the refugees.

Thailand's national security chief did not indicate what action would be taken against Burmese students living freely in Chieng-Mai.

Many of those left Burma after the government's brutal repression of democracy activists in 1988.

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