THAILAND - Fearing violence in the run up to the July 3 election, eight Bangkok districts have been placed on a police watchlist. In addition, two previous lists designated areas in the provinces as "hot spots" and higher-alert "red zones" where violence is likely or has occurred.
Deputy Bangkok police chief Pol Maj-General Kareerin Inkaew said police were most concerned about security on July 1, when all parties deliver their final speeches.
"The Democrat Party takes the stage at Benjasiri Park, the Pheu Thai at Rajamangala Stadium and Social Action Party at Lumpini Park. Police presence and security will be at their peak at these venues," he said.
The eight districts are Lak Si, Don Muang, Sai Mai, Khlong Sam Wa, Nong Chok, Bang Khunthien, Bang Bon and Thawee Watthana. An extra 11,000 police will be mobilised and crime prevention backed up by supplement units, he added.
Cases of vandalism of election signboards total 1,246, including 104 in Bangkok, while 282 candidates from 11 parties have requested police protection. In general, the situation in Bangkok has been regarded as non-violent despite the latest list putting eight capital districts on a watchlist.
In Chanthaburi, assailants yesterday fired on the home of a kamnan who canvassed for a Pheu Thai Party candidate in Constituency 1. Sa-ard Termsomboon was not at home during the attack and only property was damaged.
Police said the motive could have been Sa-ard's political support, or conflict stemming from gambling.
Kareerin said the number of vandalism cases had not increased as rapidly as before following the launch of police and media campaigns.
He repeated that the maximum sentence for vandals would be a three-year prison term and/or Bt60,000 (S$2,428) fine.
Anyone paying for or supporting systematic vandalism can be subject to the maximum sentence of a 10-year prison term and/or Bt200,000 fine, or even party dissolution if they are executive members.