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Monday, May 18, 2009

No attempt to lift containers

The Nation: National
No attempt to lift containers -
Mysterious containers on the seabed off Chon Buri's Sattahip district will remain sunk during the ongoing efforts to find out where they came from, Central Institute of Forensic Science director Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan said yesterday.

"Lifting the containers from the sea is ruled out because it will cost a lot of money," Porntip said, "But we will be looking for the safest way to cut open the containers underwater".

She was speaking after she reported the latest progress on the mysteriouscontainer case to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Porntip has been assigned to look into the containers after they caught the media spotlight and rumours spread that the bodies of those who died in the Black May incident were inside.

The Black May incident referred to a bloody crackdown on prodemocracy protesters in Bangkok 17 years ago. After the turmoil ended, dozens of protesters never returned home and were feared dead.

Speaking in his weekly television programme, Abhisit said a scientific test now suggested the mysterious containers may have rested on the seabed for more than 20 years.

"So, it's highly unlikely they could be related to the Black May incident," he said.

However, the premier assured the government would get to the bottom of the mystery to clear any lingering doubts in the hearts of people, especially relatives of the missing protesters.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said the armed forces had conducted their activities transparently and would support government policies.

Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the Royal Thai Navy had already been looking into the mysterious containers.

"Forensic science tests will give answers to the society," he said.

Meanwhile, Fine Arts Department director general Grienggrai Sampatchalit said his department was ready to provide assistance if requested.

"Marine archaeologists could be of help," the department's senior official Tharapong Srisuchart said.

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