Thailand steps up security
> Police warn of plot to bomb landmarks, airports
BANGKOK: Police in Thailand yesterday said they have increased security at major landmarks in Bangkok, at airports and in surrounding provinces following reports of bomb plots just weeks after deadly attacks rocked the country’s south.
An armed group was plotting car bomb attacks in a province near Bangkok, Thailand’s national security head said.
“The deputy prime minister instructed security agencies to closely track and monitor anything unusual including things used to prepare bombs and cars,” Thawip Netniyom, chief of Thailand’s National Security Council, told reporters.
“Why target Bangkok? They probably want to make an impact,” he said, without giving details on which groups could be behind the plot.
Popular tourist destination Thailand has seen a series of bomb attacks in the country’s south over the past few weeks, including a wave of bombs in tourist towns on Aug 11 and 12 that killed four Thai people and injured dozens, including foreigners.
Police have linked the attacks to separatists operating in Thailand’s far south.
Thawip said he was not sure whether the planned car bombs and the August attacks were related.
Britain’s Foreign Office advised travellers to exercise caution following the August bombings.
“You should exercise caution, particularly in public places. Further incidents are possible in these and other areas of Thailand,” the Foreign Office said.
In August last year, a bomb ripped through a religious shrine in Bangkok killing 20 people. But the attack failed to dent tourist arrivals to any discernable degree.
Two ethnic Uighur Muslims from China are on trial in Thailand accused of carrying out the attack.
Analysts suspected the attack was linked to Uighur sympathisers angered by Thailand’s deportation of more than 100 Uighurs to China the previous month.
Bangkok is currently playing host to a regional meeting attended by some world and business leaders. Police said they were on high alert. “I have ordered all police under my supervision in the area around Bangkok to monitor news, investigate and gather intelligence on groups which could come in and cause trouble,” said Lt-Gen Charnthep Sesawet, acting chief of Provincial Police Region 1, which oversees areas around the capital. – Reuters
Thais pray in front of a picture of their king at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok yesterday.