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Thailand tightens security for tourists, embassies

The Nation/ANN | Sunday, Sep 28, 2014

Thai authorities are beefing up security measures at embassies and certain tourist destinations across the Kingdom to ensure safety for tourists. Police will also be on patrol to thwart any form of danger.

THAILAND - Police are tightening security at embassies and certain tourist destinations across the Kingdom to ensure safety for tourists, particularly those from countries involved in the current air strikes against the Islamic State (IS).

Deputy national police chief Pol General Somyot Pumpunmuang, who is also acting as the national police chief, said yesterday that he had ordered increased security for foreign missions as well as hotels and restaurants among the places frequented by foreign tourists.

Somyot said the Special Branch Police have also been assigned to gather intelligence from hotels, restaurants and possible symbolic venues that could be targeted by extremists who support the ideology of the IS.

A US-led coalition began a campaign of air strikes against the IS from Iraq to Syria last week, after the group seized control of parts of both countries and killed two US journalists and a British aid worker.

Besides the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain have joined the US-led forces in trying to crush the IS jihadists.

Somyot's order to beef up security covers airlines, consuls, churches and important religious sites as well. Police will work closely with staff and employees as well as officials of these establishments, Somyot said.

Important diplomatic venues, said Somyot, will be closely guarded and police will work with security officers at all these embassies in order to prevent or thwart any possible attack.

Checkpoints will also be set up at various spots in order to screen suspicious vehicles, particularly at night.

"There will be [police] patrol at various spots as well as foot patrol to ensure safety at important tourist spots where there're many foreign tourists, in order to increase confidence in safety measures among foreign tourists. Investigators will be sent to seek intelligence at hotels, residences, restaurants and venues about people who exhibit behaviour that shows a tendency for violence, related to or support the ideology of the IS," said Somyot.

Somyot said the police commander in each province will be responsible for coordinating the security measures by inviting related agencies, which includes immigration police, railway police and tourist police to work together.

The acting police chief added that proactive measures will be introduced and this includes ensuring the readiness and operational ability of bomb-defusing squads to ensure the quickest response to any such situation.

The US-led strikes also targeted oil-refining facilities in Syria controlled by IS extremists to hit the radical Sunni group's revenue source. The latest round of air strikes follows an opening offensive in Syria last week that struck an IS finance centre, as part of a bid to undermine the extremist group's funding.

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