Deputy PM Chalerm to propose Pha-ngan island a weapon-free zone

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NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Jan 6 – Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung said he will propose Pha-ngan tourist island be designated a weapon-free zone.

He spoke following British ambassador to Thailand Mark Kent asking the Thai government to implement measures for the safety of tourists after Stephen Ashton, a Briton, was killed by a stray bullet while celebrating the new year on Pha-ngan island.

Mr Chalerm said the suspect was already arrested, adding that safety measures for tourists for the past four months have improved, and admitting that it was impossible to 100% monitor safety despite the fact that Thai police provided their fullest performance.

He said that the government should provide understanding to the public in tourist areas that weapons should be turned over to the government, while the government will compensate them with money in return. After the measure is put into place, additional tourist areas will be considered to follow suit.

Without guns, unlikely incidents will not happen, he said.