Destinations Asia

Thailand’s Military Junta Says It May Re-Impose Curfew in Bangkok and Tourist Towns

Jun 16, 2014 3:00 am

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There are other places for business and leisure travelers to go while Thailand figures out if it wants to be a police state or not.

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Reuters

Soldiers stand guard against protesters outside the NBT TV station in Bangkok. Reuters


Curfew may be reimposed in any area found to have security threats, a spokesperson from Thailand’s military junta said yesterday, just a day after the lifting of the nationwide curfew.

Any area with the risk of disturbances that threaten national security may see the curfew invoked again, Pathamakorn Ratanadilok Na-Phuket, a spokeswoman for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said.

She said the country would remain under martial law although the authorities would focus on enforcing ordinary laws to deal with law-breakers.

The spokesperson said the curfew had contributed to a reduction of crime — including violent crime — traffic violations and gambling.

Colonel Winthai Suvari, another NCPO spokesman, thanked the public for their cooperation.

“We have to thank the public members for their understanding towards the need to use different measures. The NCPO has obtained good cooperation,” he said.

The junta said in its announcement on Friday night that the curfew was lifted as the overall situation had improved.

“The overall situation across the country has eased and there are no signs of violence. To ease the impact on people’s daily lives and boost tourism by Thais and foreigners, the curfew is being lifted in the remaining areas nationwide with immediate effect,” the statement said.

That was good news for entertainment venues, and many immediately saw more customers.

The curfew had earlier been lifted in 25 provinces, many of them tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui.

The curfew was imposed on May 22 following the military takeover and was initially effective nationwide from 10pm-5am.

It was later relaxed while cancellations of the curfew were gradually announced in areas where the atmosphere was calm, most of which were popular tourist destinations.

Following the nationwide lifting of the curfew, the Airport Rail Link, BTS Skytrain and MRT subway announced that from yesterday their normal service times — 6am to midnight — had resumed.

In Chiang Mai, the private sector welcomed the lifting of the curfew, saying it would benefit the tourism industry as a whole.

Narong Kongprasert, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s upper northern provinces, said the move would boost tourists’ confidence in Thailand and he believed there would be more visitors coming to the country.

La-iad Bungsithong, leader of the Association of Northern Hotel Operators, said she believed occupancy rates would now increase.

She said that in this coming week the association would meet with tour operators to discuss how to assure prospective tourists that the situation in Thailand had returned to normal.

Meanwhile, deputy Police Commissioner General Somyos Pumphanmuang said the explosion at Bangkok’s Rama IX intersection on Friday night — before the lifting of the curfew — might not be related to politics.

The explosion reportedly damaged two cars and slightly damaged a nearby police booth.

Somyos said someone might have discarded the Russian-made RDG5 grenade there and a car might have accidentally run over it.

He said it was also possible that the explosion was caused by a fight between local rival gangs of teenagers.

In Kanchanaburi, police arrested 40 young men and women involved in illegal street racing; 32 motorcycles were seized.

The youngsters were fined for causing a public disturbance at night and their parents accompanied them back home after they were put on probation.

They returned to the street racing shortly after the curfew was lifted, according to police.

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