BANGKOK, May 28 — As the general election which will be held in Thailand on July 3 is approaching, more election candidates have requested police protection for fear that they may be targets for attack, senior police officers said Saturday.
Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen, advisor to the Royal Thai Police and also supervisor of the election peace-keeping centre, and Pol Maj Gen Prawut Thavornsiri, police spokesman, jointly held a press conference that so far fierce competition for the election is seen in 10 provinces nationwide and more are expected to be added in the list in the near future.
To date, 77 MP candidates have sought police protection, up from 49 candidates earlier, Gen Pongsapat said. Two uniformed policemen will be offer round-the-clock surveillance to each candidate who has requested police protection.
Meanwhile, Third Region Police commander Pol Lt Gen Dechawat Ramsomphob said eight policemen have been dispatched to provide protection to four candidates contesting in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima.
A total of nine candidates have so far asked for police protection in the lower Northeastern region while many of them are in the process of applying, said Lt Gen Dechawat. Police have already started suppression activities on known hired gunmen and seized weapons. To date they have seized more than 200 weapons.
On rampant destructions of election posters and billboards experienced by every political party contesting in the election, especially by the outgoing ruling Democrat Party and its major rival Pheu Thai Party, Maj Gen Prawut said severe punishment both on charges of property destruction and election offences will be meted out to wrongdoers.
Police will increase patrols in areas where many posters are set up and monitor conflicts among candidates contesting the election as well as people suspected of destroying campaign posters, Maj Gen Prawut said. (MCOT online news)