Business conflict behind arson : Chalerm
The recent torching of 76 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Yala was the work of losers in the bidding for the CCTV camera-installation contract, not an insurgent attack, claimed Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung yesterday.Chalerm said he had instructed Yala governor Decharat Simsiri to probe the businesses in question with a view to taking legal action against destroyers of state property. He added that police had assured him they would provide security to teachers in the South today, National Teachers' Day.
Decharat also met with police, Army and administrative officials yesterday to agree on security measures for today.
Chalerm added that former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad had pledged to grant him an audience soon, as part of Thailand's bid to gain Malaysia's help in ending the deep South insurgency. However, National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr contradicted Chalerm's version of events, saying the torching of cameras was part of a typical tactic by insurgents to target state equipment, rather than personnel, in the wake of tightened security.
Paradorn also noted that such arson could be preparation for large-scale violence to come, and called on security forces and citizens to be on high alert. He said funding would be provided to replace the damaged CCTV cameras and to mount more cameras at risk-prone spots in 13 areas.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday instructed related agencies to cooperate on deciding new locations where the CCTV cameras would not be repeatedly destroyed.
She also admitted that there were still security loopholes that had enabled the repeat attacks, particularly a lack of manpower and co-ordination. Addressing Chalerm's comment that the arson stemmed from a business conflict, she said related agencies were investigating.