Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Let's Not Scare the Tourists Away

Excerpts from a news item in Thailand's The Nation, 17 Sept 2006:

"Five people were killed and about 60 injured in a series of six explosions in Hat Yai's business centre last night. The blasts went off at two shopping malls, one of the city's biggest hotels and three other locations...

"Senior Police Officer Ongkorn Thongprasom said police had received reports that such bomb attacks were likely between September 16 and 20.

"'After this bombing, we have to seriously discuss security measures for the area. For sure, the impact on tourism will be large,' he said."

Reading this news story made me wonder why security in the area hadn't been beefed up. If the police really had received such reports, they should have heightened their presence in the area. Of course, that would have scared the tourists, but it would also have deterred the bombers.

The security measures should have been discussed and enforced even before those reports came in. Hat Yai is such an obvious target for the southern terrorists. Contingency plans and responses to threat scenarios should have been part of the police playbook. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, but from this senior police officer's comments, it sounds like it came as a huge surprise to him. With such low competence on the part of our law enforcement, no wonder the southern fire rages on.

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