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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
'Fake bomb' at Thai leader's home
A Thai policeman holding the fake bomb
Police said the objects could not have exploded
Police in Thailand have found a fake bomb near the residence of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Objects including an alarm clock, some wire and an abusive note were found in a bag near the compound, police said.

The discovery comes days after police defused explosives found in a car near Mr Thaksin's home.

The Thai leader has accused military officers of plotting to kill him, but some Thai analysts suggest the incident was a stunt to bolster his support.

The fake bomb was discovered near the back entrance of Mr Thaksin's compound, police Colonel Sathorn Sasomboon said.

"It is a hoax by someone who wants to see the country in a mess," the French news agency AFP quoted him as saying. "This kind of stuff could not have exploded."

Speculation

Defence Minister General Thammarak Isarangkun said last week that the police had exposed a plot to kill Mr Thaksin.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (file photo)
Mr Thaksin believes someone was trying to assassinate him

A former army officer was arrested shortly after the car carrying explosives was found, and Mr Thaksin also sacked the head of Thailand's main counter-insurgency operation, General Panlop Pinmanee.

Mr Thaksin said "three to four" military officers were involved in the plot, and added that further arrests would be made.

But there has been widespread speculation in the Thai media that the alleged plot was a stunt aimed at boosting Mr Thaksin's ratings ahead of the general election re-run on 15 October.

A Bangkok University poll of residents in the capital showed that only 20% of respondents believed in a plot against the premier. Almost 50% said they thought it was a political stunt.

Polls in April were annulled after the main opposition Democract party decided to boycott them.

The country has remained in political limbo since, with tensions running high between supporters of each side.




SEE ALSO
Thai PM alleges plot to kill him
25 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
'Bomb' found near Thai PM's home
24 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Thais face return to the ballot box
08 May 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Thai court rules election invalid
08 May 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Thai prime minister to step aside
04 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra
04 Feb 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Thailand
08 Jan 05 |  Country profiles

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