South Thai security beefed up

PHUKET: Security measures have been stepped up in some popular tourist-destination provinces in the South following warnings of possible attacks, local officials said.

Authorities in those provinces have instructed agencies to tighten security after messages were sent through social media warning of possible violent incidents in the region, a source said yesterday.

Provinces like Phuket and Krabi have been on alert, with authorities focusing on such risky locations such as state offices, tourist destinations, shopping malls, airports and piers, according to the source who added that authorities had also urged local residents to report suspicious activity.

Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong said yesterday that he had ordered heightened security measures at key checkpoints in the island province. More security cameras have been installed at risky areas, he added.

In Krabi, security measures have been stepped up at the province’s international airport following a report that insurgents from the southern border region were plotting to carry out an attack over the weekend, a local official who declined to be named, said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry yesterday dismissed a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that ranked Thailand among the 20 most dangerous countries to visit.

Ministry spokesman Busadee Santipitaks said yesterday that the information used to rank Thailand on the WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report is outdated and biased while failing to reflect the recent improvements.

The Foreign Ministry issued the statement after local and international media quoted the WEF report, which ranked Thailand at 118th out of 136 countries for safety and security for tourists. The WEF report says that Thailand’s overall safety performance had barely improved, as it was 34th with a 4.4 score in 2017 from 35th with 4.3 in 2015, citing the high rate of crime and violence and low reliability of police services.

Busadee said that after the WEF report was released in April, Thai representatives at the United Nations Headquarters contacted the WEF executives and questioned them about the methodology as many international organisations like Master Card, Expat Insider and US News & World Report have ranked Thailand among the top tourist destinations.

The WEF admitted that some information is outdated, some were biased as the information was collected from questionnaires. — The Nation / Asia News Network

Phuket , Krabi , terrorism