It is always good to find a solution to a serious problem. There are times when troubles continue, apparently without end, until finally the problem is resolved. Right now, the most serious security threat to the nation is the nine-year conflict in the far South. On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung is to make the case that the one missing link in resolving the worst of the violence in the troubled deep South is an overnight curfew. Unfortunately, he is wrong.
Curfews don't work against long-term problems. Government security forces know that, because the army and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) all have experience with curfews in the South. The country knows it, because the 1976 curfew in Bangkok failed to halt the next year's military coup. Police know it because of attempts at grounding youths at night who ignored the curfew.
Just over two years ago, then-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva promised a 20% reduction in Bangkok crime as one of his "nine gifts" for the New Year. Quickly, the head of the Juvenile Observation and Protection Department suggested a new curfew to ban under-18s from public places after 10pm. By then, authorities knew that such curfews only tie up police in senseless roundups of curfew breakers instead of battling the real crimes that the curfew supposedly addressed.
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