Public to have say on curfew

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says public opinion will be a key factor in deciding whether to impose a curfew in parts of the far South.

  • Published: 11/02/2013 at 11:50 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung; the bad old days: When Thailand is under curfew.

Ms Yingluck called an urgent meeting at Government House Monday to discuss the curfew proposal.

The idea was raised by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung last week after the murders of two farmers in Pattani and four fruit traders in Yala.

Ms Yingluck then expressed her support for a curfew following a string of attacks which killed five soldiers in Raman district of Yala and two other people in Pattani on Sunday.

Ms Yingluck said the decision on whether to impose the curfew is expected to be made on Friday.

Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) chief Pol Col Thawee Sodsong has been asked to survey local opinions and report the findings to the meeting, National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr said.

Pol Col Thawee's report on how residents of the far South feel about the matter would be given priority in the discussions, Ms Yingluck said.

Mr Chalerm said a curfew would make it harder for insurgents to stage attacks.

Critics have said the proposal would have little effect as most insurgent attacks in the deep South are carried out in daylight hours.

"If the measure doesn't work, we can lift it. That's nothing to be embarrassed about in that case," Mr Chalerm said.

If agreed, the curfew would be finalised by the Centre for Implementation of Policies and Strategies for Solving Southern Problems, chaired by Mr Chalerm, Mr Paradorn said.

Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said he would lend weight to the opinions of local people and authorities in the field.

ACM Sukumpol earlier opposed the curfew idea. He said Monday the Yala attacks which killed five soldiers were a "tactical mistake". Otherwise, there was nothing wrong with the security strategy in place, he said.

Fourth Army commander Udomchai Thammasarotrat said the decision rests with the government and the army is ready to comply. He insisted the situation in the South is under control despite last week's attacks in Yala and Pattani.

Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, the army chief-of-staff, will call a meeting Wednesday to assess the situation.

Meanwhile, a policeman was injured Monday when he and other officers raided a house in Khok Pho district.

Pol Cpl Sukree Sribu, 35, was hurt in an explosion when a police unit surrounded the house in Ban Pho after receiving a tip-off about the movements of potential insurgent suspects.

The squad later raided the house and killed a suspect identified as Maruding Yusoh, 23.

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