Strict surveillance of water-war zones, ‘safe’ splashing from pickups will be allowed

POLICE YESTERDAY laid out security measures for the upcoming Songkran holidays, including a strict surveillance of water-war zones such as Bangkok’s Khao San and Silom roads and the Asiatique area.

Police have also decided to be lenient with revellers, allowing them to splash water from the cargo beds of pickup trucks “appropriately and safely”.

National police deputy commissioner Pol General Chalermkiat Srivorakan led a video conference from the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok to ensure police are prepared in suppressing crime and beefing up security during Songkran.

After the half-an-hour-long meeting, Chalermkiat said he has instructed police officers to provide tight security at water-war zones such as Khao San, Silom, Asiatique and Royal City Avenue in Bangkok – each of which is expected to have at least 5,000 revellers.

As for popular Songkran celebration sites elsewhere in the country, such as Khon Kaen’s Khao Niew Road, the central moat area of Chiang Mai and Songkhla’s Hat Yai district, Chalermkiat said police will set up operation centres to oversee security measures, along with the Army and local administrators.

Checkpoints will also be set up to screen vehicles for illegal items and to prevent any attacks, he added.

“The government and police ask people not to use high-pressure water guns, ice or unclean water, to not consume alcohol on moving vehicles, to not shoot guns in the air, to not sell alcoholic beverages to persons under 18, and to not wear revealing clothes.

“Revellers can ride on and splash waster from pickup trucks’ cargo beds, provided that it is done appropriately, safely and without imposing a risk of road accidents,” he explained.

He also told the press that police intelligence has not picked up any information of possible attacks during the Songkran period.

Police will continue conducting a crime sweep until April 10 and will keep a close eye out for traffickers using the holiday period to smuggle drugs, he added.

Chalermkiat has also invited the public to register their homes with the police “vacation home-watch” scheme, which will see frequent police patrols while the owners are on vacation from April 11 to 17.

He said he expects as many as last Songkran’s 8,348 house-owners joining the scheme this year.

Meanwhile, the smartphone application “Police I Lert U” – which he said has already seen up to 600,000 downloads – also serves as a quick channel to report crimes or emergencies.

Photo Credit / Flickr
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