City governor urges public to avoid panic

City governor urges public to avoid panic

Shopping centres beef up security after blasts

Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday urged the public to stay calm following Tuesday's bombings, saying everything is being done ensure people's safety.

He said the BMA will do everything possible to support the police and the government in preventing a recurrence of the incident in which three blasts injured five people, including an Iranian attacker, in Sukhumvit Soi 71.

He said law enforcement agencies as well as the Bangkok fire and rescue department have been told to stay vigilant and be ready to deliver emergency responses if need be.

MR Sukhumbhand said the city is also speeding up the installation of another 10,000 security cameras, especially in areas frequented by foreign visitors, and all should be up and running within the year.

There are currently 15,000 cameras across Bangkok although more are needed, said deputy city police chief Phisit Phisutsak, after meeting city council chairman Suthichai Weerakulsunthorn yesterday.

Major shopping malls in Bangkok have also stepped up security.

Robinson Department Store has increased security guards at its outlets, Robinson vice-president for marketing Sirinij Chokchairittikul said.

Central city shopping malls are particularly popular with foreign tourists.

The Mall Group, which runs the Paragon shopping centre near Siam Square and Emporium on Sukhumvit Road, said it has more than 200 additional security guards in place, many in plain clothes, at all its department stores.

The stores will also work with the police dog unit to conduct around-the-clock inspections and sweeps, the Mall Group's senior executive vice-president Phaibul Kanokvatanawan said.

The bomb blasts have prompted foreign embassies to issue safety warnings.

The British embassy on its website has urged its nationals to "exercise caution" in several provinces including Chiang Rai and Ubon Ratchathani.

In response to the warning, security agencies in Chiang Rai have been put on alert and ordered to remain vigilant, while providing daily reports to the newly established anti-international terrorism centre based in the province, Chiang Rai governor Thanin Suphasaen said.

Soldiers are also closely monitoring checkpoints on the borders with Myanmar and Laos.

In Ubon Ratchathani, which shares a border with Laos, authorities have also been told to stay alert and improve security measures in crowded places, including bus and railway stations and the airport, its governor Suraphon Saiphan said.

Security is also being tightened in Phuket and Songkhla's commercial hub in Hat Yai.

Police in Phuket are maintaining a strong presence on Patong beach while checkpoints have been set up to inspect vehicles heading into Hat Yai.

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