Nationwide security alert for Songkran
Authorities have issued a full security alert in the wake of an
explosion in front of a Bangkok mall. Australia warned that more
bombings were feared at Songkran this weekend.
Bangkok areas of
particular concern were the Khao San Road, a celebrated meeting point
for foreign tourists and backpackers, and Sanuam Luang, a large park in
the centre of the old part of the city which attracts thousands of
The government has ordered extra police in
Bangkok for Thai New Year celebrations this weekend to try to prevent a
repeat of the New Year's Eve serial blasts that killed three people.
Lt-Gen Adisorn Nonsee said more than 3,000 police officers would patrol
the capital, up from the current 1,500, during the five-day Songkran
festival which kicks off on Thursday afternoon.
Jiwaramonaikun, chairman of the Association of Khao San Traders, said
more than 100 soldiers, policemen and civil volunteers would be on duty
in the backpackers' festival area while bomb detectors would also be
used as part of the security measures.
Mr Piyabutr expected that
more than 10 million baht would be circulated during the four-day event
on Khao San Road which should see a daily turnout of 40,000-50,000 Thai
and foreign celebrants.
He said revellers would be banned from
applying talcum powder on others and each day's festival would end at 7
pm. Water gun is one of the favourite equipments to splash water on
others during the festival.
Nobody was hurt in Monday night's
explosion in front of Major Cineplex Ratchayothin, but three phone
booths were damaged. Police detained, but later released a taxi driver
suspected of planting the home-made device.
embassy in Bangkok issued an advisory to its citizens in late February,
saying it had received reports of possible bombs in crowded places such
as department stores or public transport in the capital.
The advice, renewed today in an announcement, urged "a high degree of caution because of the high threat of terrorist attack".
authorities have previously warned of the possibility of further
co-ordinated bombings in Thailand to coincide with symbolic dates,
including in Bangkok and the southern provinces," the travel advice
"They have mentioned the Buddhist festive season of
Songkran (around the period April 11-17, 2007) as a particular time of
concern. We assess these warnings are credible," it said.
"Further terrorist attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in Thailand," it added.
-- Bangkok Post
, Agencies 2007-04-10