HAADYAI: From diesel smugglers to Muslim extremists, folks here have their own theories of who should be held responsible for the two blasts which rocked this popular shopping destination.
Some claimed these were acts by local diesel smugglers in retaliation against the police for crippling their illegal movements.
According to a trader who wished to be known only as Noy, that was one of the reasons why tourist spots were not among the places targeted for the blasts.
The price for a litre of diesel in Malaysia is RM2 while the price for a litre of diesel in Thailand is 29.99 baht (RM3.01).
A source also said that the police were probing whether the same people were involved in the Danok blasts last December.
The police, however, were keeping mum about the matter at press time.
Former Haadyai deputy mayor Boonchuay Changsirivathanatham-rong believed the bombing acts might have been conducted by Muslim extremists from the provinces of southern Thailand.
There are four provinces in southern Thailand – Songkhla, a mixed Malay-Thai area, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, all of which are majority Malay areas.
“This is the first time the Haadyai police station was bombed in a bid by the extremists to show how powerful they are,” added Boonchuay, who is also the director of the Thailand Chamber of Commerce.
Boonchuay attributed the attacks to an ongoing insurgence by extremist Muslims to drive the Thai Buddhists out of southern Thailand.
When asked if the bombings in Haadyai on Tuesday might be due to a turf war over drug-related activities, Boonchuay said it might be possible.
“The insurgencies need to be financed, so some eventually got associated with the drug lords.
“Not only that, they might also be involved in diesel smuggling,” he said.
Boonchuay added that the bombings might affect the local economy especially in the tourism industry and it would even take two to three months for businesses to return to normal.
“As of now, we’re looking at a decrease of 30% to 40% in hotel occupancy rates compared to normal days.”
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