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Southern Violence

Insurgent suspected hiding in Hat Yai

Security was beefed up in Songkhla's Hat Yai City yesterday following widespread reports that a suspected insurgent had taken refuge there.

The authorities have distributed sketches of insurgents believed to be involved in last Friday's car bomb attack in Pattani's Sai Buri district, in which six security officials were killed and many others injured.

Meanwhile, defence volunteers are providing round-the-clock security in Hat Yai's busy downtown area, especially around the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel, which was attacked earlier this year.

Hat Yai police have also set up 35 checkpoints around the city and are keeping close watch on apartments and dormitories where the suspect might be living.

Meanwhile, Pattani Governor Tira Mintrasak visited and provided financial assistance to civil servants, police officers, officials and passers-by who were injured in last Friday's bombing. Three police officers still remain under intensive care, while the remaining 26 injured are being treated in hospital.

In related news, the independent National Rule of Law Commission president Ukrit Mongkolnavin said yesterday that the government should apply modern technology to solve the unrest in the South.

He said the Land Transport Department could make it mandatory for all vehicles and motorcycles to be installed with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) so they can be traced when stolen. Also, more "smart" checkpoints could be set up in the South border provinces and solar-powered street-lamps could be installed along primary and secondary roads to prevent attacks at night, he said.

Ukrit went on to say that the mobile-ion scanning technology could be used to detect bombs and drugs, and that these ideas could be implemented in three or four months and should cost less than Bt3 billion.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha said security would be further tightened in the deep South this week because statistics show that insurgents usually intensify their attacks when provincial governors are reshuffled. The transfers are implemented today and tomorrow.

Security will be focused on Yala province because it has suffered the largest number of attacks compared to Narathiwat and Pattani. Also, two major changes are scheduled for Yala province: the redeployment of troops and the changing of its governor because the incumbent one is retiring.

Yutthasak said he had already informed Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha that security would be strengthened during the period.


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