Hat Yai tightens security to prevent insurgency violence

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SONGKHLA, Sept 26 – Security has been beefed up in the trading town of Hat Yai in this southern province after widespread reports and rumours that a suspected insurgent in Thailand’s deep South may try to take refuge here, according to provincial police.

The authorities have distributed sketches of terrorists involved in last Friday’s car bomb in Pattani’s Saiburi district, in which six persons died—police officers and related security officials–and wounding scores of officials and civilians.

There was an unconfirmed report that the suspected insurgent was hiding in Hat Yai district.

Defence volunteers have provided round-the-clock security in Hat Yai’s busy downtown business and tourist areas, especially on Sanehha Nusorn Road where the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel is located. The hotel and shopping complex was hit by a bomb blast in March this year, killing more than 10 people and injuring at least 100.

Hat Yai police also set up 35 checkpoints around Hat Yai city and are keeping close watch on apartments and dormitories where the terrorists from three provinces in the far South may be staying.

Meanwhile, Pattani governor Tira Mintrasak visited and distributed financial assistance to civil servants, police, other officials and passersby who were injured in last Friday’s car bombing.

Three seriously wounded police officers remain in the intensive care unit.  Ten police officers and six others are recuperating at Pattani Hospital, while ten others were admitted to other Pattani hospitals.