Thai army chief rants at critics, warns of Hong Kong unrest

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's powerful army chief has declared that the country's government is virtually at war with its critics, warning that politicians and intellectuals may "manipulate" young people to stage protests like those in Hong Kong.

Gen. Apirat Kongsompong in a speech Friday charged that "hybrid warfare" incorporating methods such as online propaganda and more traditional violent means was already being employed in Thailand to destroy the nation.

Apirat said former communists who never gave up efforts to seize power were masterminding the alleged plot. He linked them to opposition politicians whom he didn't identify by name, but clearly included the head of the third biggest party in parliament.

Thailand's military frequently stages coups during periods of political unrest, though the current government is led by a former army chief and coupmaker.