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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   4 April  2012

1/2m Thai Baht bounty on suspects of bombing

SONGKHLA, April 3, 2012

 A Bt500,000 bounty has been set for each of two suspects in last Saturday's hotel car bombing in Hat Yai, the commercial district of the southern border province of Songkhla, Governor Kritsada Boonrat said on Tuesday.

The governor announced the bounty offer as he called a meeting of concerned agencies and the province's business and tourism sectors to assess the situation after the devastation left in the aftermath of last weekend’s bomb at Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel.

The explosion claimed three lives, including two Malaysian nationals and wounded over 350 tourists and shoppers.

Mr Kritsada said the investigation has progressed as two suspects have been identified from the  closed circuit television footage.

Prapas Inthanaprasat, Hat Yai director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said that over 40 per cent of the city’s hotel bookings during April 6-8 have been cancelled by Malaysian tourists following the bomb blast.

Mr Prapas however said in asking tourism operators and hoteliers that bookings during the upcoming Thai traditional Songkran New Year remain fully booked. There has been no formal report of room cancellations despite speculation that visitors are awaiting to see the measures to restore confidence of concerned agencies before making a decision.

Meanwhile, Hat Yai Mayor Phrai Phatthano welcomed Dato' Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahim from Malaysia and media from the neighbouring country before showing them the blast scene at the Lee Gardens Plaza.

Mr Rahim said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was concerned about the incident and ordered an ambulance to carry four injured Malaysians for medical treatment at home.

Some 20 vehicles belonging to Malaysian tourists remain in the hotel parking, the mayor said. The vehicles will be removed from the parking lot today and the electrical system will be reinstalled there to facilitate the reclamation work.

Mr Phrai said engineers from Prince of Songkla University will reinspect the building after the first inspection found that the structure to be intact.

The mayor said that at least two levels of underground parking were badly damaged and might be demolished and rebuilt.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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