BANGKOK, 22 February 2016 – The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is installing x-ray scanning machines and bomb detectors at railway stations in the southern border provinces in order to step up security and ensure safety for all passengers.
Security officials and SRT staff are working together on the installation of these devices. At the initial stage, the devices will be used at four railway stations, namely the Hat Yai Junction Railway Station, the Wat Khuan Mit Railway Station, and the Chana Railway Station in Songkhla province, as well as the Sungai Kolok Railway Station in Narathiwat province. Later, they will be in use at all 27 railway stations in Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Songkhla.
The x-ray scanning machines to be installed in these areas are of the same standard as those installed at all airports across the country. Officials who have been well-trained will be assigned to handle the operations of these devices, which are able to detect explosives and weapons and prevent narcotics and other suspicious items from entering the stations. This will help protect the southern border provinces from violent acts and drug trafficking.
Chief of the Sungai Kolok Railway Station, Alawi Uma, said that the devices began operations on a trial basis at the entrance to the Sungai Kolok Railway Station on 18 February 2016. He said that passengers wishing to pass through all the target railway stations, equipped with these devices, are required to have their belongings checked, such as luggage, communication devices, cameras, and notebooks.
According to Mr. Alawi, the Sungai Kolok Railway Station provides services for about 1,000 passengers a day. At the initial stage of the use of the x-ray scanning machines, some passengers might experience slow services. However, all passengers have been urged to give cooperation, so that this security measure will operate with great efficiency.
As for the current southern situation, Deputy Spokesman of the Internal Security Operations Command, Region 4 Forward, Colonel Yuttanam Petchmoang, revealed recently that the situation is improving. During the past three months, there were only 75 violent incidents in the southern border provinces. The figure represents a drop of 38 percent, when compared with 113 violent incidents in the same period of the previous year. Casualties also fell by almost 70 percent, with 16 people killed and 61 injured. Moreover, he said, security officials were able to stop 24 bombing attempts on various roads during the three-month period.
The successful implementation of the Government’s major strategies has led to the improvement of the situation. Both security and development strategies have been implemented in response to the needs of local people and in line with the local way of living, culture, and traditions. This means that the tackling of southern problems must be in accord with the conditions in local environments, with the participation of local residents.
The Government still continues peaceful means and the strategies for public participation in dealing with the southern situation. Emphasis is also placed on concerted efforts by the military, the police, local administrations, and the civic sector in peace-building, along with development work.