Security has been stepped up in the bustling tourism town of Hat Yai ahead of Chinese New Year when a lot of Chinese descendants from Malaysia are expected to cross the border for visits.
Sources from security agencies said troops and police have been warned to step up road checkpoints and patrols, especially in business areas and shopping malls, as Muslim insurgents are expected to carry out attacks in an attempt to discredit the Thai government.
Troops and police manning road checkpoints were told to stop and check all vehicles, including motorcycles.
The sources said assistance had been sought from the civil sector to monitor against any untoward incident.
The town has already been decorated with red lamps, which are symbols of Chinese New Year celebrations.
Surapol Kampalanonwat, the president of Songkhla Tourism Association, said about Bt250 million worth of revenue is expected to be generated in the tourism sector in Hat Yai during the Chinese New Year holidays. Many Malaysian visitors are expected to visit on Friday, which is the traditional day to take outings.