11 July 2024

Security at airports, railway stations and tourist spots in 14 southern provinces, especially Hat Yai, Phuket and Surat Thani Province, is to be stepped up following the derailment of a freight train by sabotage in the Sadao district of Songkhla province on Saturday.

Lt-Gen Santi Sakuntanark, commander of the Fourth Army Region, said today that troops had cleared the site of the explosion on the track in Tha Pho sub-district and will now hand the investigation over to the police.

More than ten cars of the freight train, travelling between Hat Yai and the Thai border town of Padang Besar in Sadao district, were derailed after a powerful explosion on the rail tracks, which left a massive crater. There were no injuries.

Lt-Gen Santi said that the sabotage was perpetrated by southern insurgents bent on undermining the economy of the Deep South, adding that the incident took place in an area not covered by the state of emergency, which is currently only enforceable in Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani provinces and four districts of Songkhla Province.

He said that all security agencies have been instructed to tighten security during the festive season, from now until after New Year, not just in tourist provinces, but in all the 14 southern provinces.

One man has been held for questioning over his suspected involvement in the bombing, because he was spotted near the scene at the time of the explosion, but no charges have been filed yet.

Railway officials said that the Hat Yai-Padang Besar train service has not been suspended, as earlier reported, but some “operational adjustments” have been made.