11 July 2024

A security red alert was declared today in the southern province of Songkhla,  especially in Hat Yai commercial district popular with Malaysian tourists, after three more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found on Samila beach following two blasts that damaged one of its famous beach-side statues.

The home-made bombs were later destroyed by police bomb experts.

Songkhla Governor Veeranan Pengchan said he had ordered security to be stepped up to the highest level in the province, especially in Hat Yai, to restore confidence of tourists.   Large number of Thai and Malaysian tourists are expected to flock to the province during the New Year’s festival.

Two bombs of similar type wet off on Wednesday night, damaging a tail section of the Golden Mermaid statue and the nearby Noo-Maew statue.  No one was injured however because the beach was usually deserted at night.

Police sources said that the IEDs were made up of explosives contained in a small metal box about 4 inches wide, 5 inches long and 2 inches tall, a digital watch, electrical wires and three AA batteries.

Security sources suspected the five bombs were planted by members of the BRN militant group active in Jana district to undermine the economy in the southern province of Songkhla by scaring away tourists form Malaysia who usually visit Hat Yai district in droves during New Year’s festival.

The two explosion sites were still cordoned off today with guards put on standby.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said that the bomb explosions were politically motivated, claiming that investigators have had clues about the perpetrators.

He said that the violence was not linked to the situation in the three southernmost provinces, but militants there might be used by some political elements to incite unrest.

But Pol Gen Srivara Rangsitbrahmanakul, the deputy national police chief, said the bomb explosions were not politically motivated.