Thailand beefs up security

BANGKOK: Thai authorities beefed up security in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces after a police alert was issued for a possible car bomb attack in the city, according to security forces.

Police teams were deployed in tourist areas of the city, near embassies and at airports, according to the national police Deputy Chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul.

According to Srivara, the police had received intelligence reports about plans to conduct bombings in three localities in the capital and nearby provinces towards the end of the month, as cited by the Bangkok Post newspaper.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said a more detailed investigation into the intelligence reports was necessary and warned he could not reveal more information about the alert.

Early yesterday, authorities arrested 10 people in Bangkok on suspicion of collaborating with Southern Thailand’s Muslim insurgent groups which were blamed for serial bombings in several provinces in August.

In another operation in Samut Prakan province, south of Bangkok, police arrested a technician on suspicion of modifying mobile phones for using them as detonators, Thai PBS channel reported.

Between Aug 11 and Aug 12, a total of 14 bombs exploded in six Thai provinces, leaving four people dead and 35 wounded, including 10 foreigners.

The attacks were claimed weeks later by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, the largest Muslim armed rebel group operating in the country.

Light weapon attacks, murders and bomb blasts are almost routine in the provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala, despite a deployment of around 40,000 security forces and a state of emergency since 2005.

More than 6,500 people have died in southern Thailand since the Muslim separatist movement resumed its armed resistance in 2004, after being dormant for nearly a decade.

The insurgents denounce discrimination by the dominant Buddhist community in the country and demand the creation of an Islamic state. — EPA