Turmoil In More Cities, But Top Cop Says Phuket Safe

Despite the turmoil engulfing parts of Bangkok and some other Thai cities, Phuket’s top cop insists Phuket remains safe.

Commenting on reports that two provincial halls in Northeast Thailand have been set on fire by rampaging red shirts, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pekad Tantipong said the same could not happen in Phuket.

Tha Chat Chai checkpoint, where police inspect vehicles coming onto the island, provides the island with very tight security, he said.

“Nothing serious is going to happen,” he said.

Maj Gen Pekad’s comments came on the day red shirt leaders called off their protest at Rajprasong Intersection in central Bangkok.

The move prompted mobs of red shirts to go in the rampage in the capital.

A splinter group of protesters based at Din Daeng have reportedly declared themselves independent of the Rajprasong protest, saying they were ready to continue the struggle to bring down the Democrat Party-led government.

Some red shirts have reportedly threatened to target members of the media they claim are biased against them.

The Phuket Gazette’s sister newspaper The Nation and the TAN Network today evacuated their offices following such threats.

One Nation photographer has already been shot while covering the protests.

The Civil Disaster Prevention Office announced that the red-shirt protesters set fire to at least 15 spots in Bangkok, The Nation reported at 4:30pm.

The offices of the Bangkok Post are reportedly in ‘lockdown’ for the same reason, although its internet site continues to provide breaking news.

Reuters reports that the Channel 3 building has been set on fire and the channel is off the air.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand is also on fire.

Meanwhile the Chiang Mai Mail is reporting that a mob of red shirts is setting banks on Ta Pae Road on fire and that more than 1,000 protesters have gathered at Naowarat Bridge in that northern city.

About 40 people have been killed in Bangkok since last week.

The red shirts say the army has shot unarmed protesters, while the government claims only armed ‘terrorists’ have been targeted.


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