The Nation



Songkhla governor acts to boost confidence of tourists

Security tightened until jan 8 for new year holidays

AFTER A SERIES of bomb attacks in Sadao on Sunday prompted many Malaysians to cancel visits, Songkhla Governor Krissada Boonraj yesterday launched a plan to boost tourists' confidence by beefing up security until January 8 - in the hope of attracting visitors for the New Year holidays.

Meanwhile, unrest continued in the Deep South yesterday, with three separate bomb attacks occurring. At 3pm, a bomb blast in Yala's Muang district slightly injured two police and destroyed a police pickup, while another bomb minutes later slightly wounded two police in Yala's Than To district. In the third incident, a roadside bomb in Pattani's Panare district caused no injuries.

On Monday evening, three gunmen in camouflage clothing shot dead Sakariya Hengdada, a Tambon Bannang Kuwae Administration Organisation member, in front of a mosque in Bannang Sata in Yala. Three others were injured, including a 12-year-old boy.

Krissada explained that the Songkhla plan had two parts. The first is a security beef-up in and around city areas, particularly in Chana, Thepa, Na Thawee, Saba Yoi, Hat Yai, Sadao, Muang and Khlong Hoy Khong districts.

As well as having checkpoints - both permanent and temporary ones - on all main roads, particularly in Hat Yai City, the authorities would target areas and communities for crimes and urge apartment owners to obtain thorough details from temporary tenants during this period.

Security cameras in shops, hotels and malls would be properly adjusted and guards trained to conduct stricter screening of vehicles entering business establishments.

In the second part, efforts would be made to boost tourists' confidence by getting Tourism Authority of Thailand offices in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, plus tour operators, to speedily explain the situation to tourists, so they can return for the New Year holidays. He said 2014 countdown events in Sadao and Hat Yai would still be on. Hat Yai was preparing to send 200 officers to provide security at its two countdown event sites.

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