POSTED: 4:27 a.m. HST, Sep 27, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 4:43 a.m. HST, Sep 27, 2010
BANGKOK — Thai police said Monday they will distribute guidelines on how to spot a bomb as part of efforts to improve security after a string of small blasts in the capital.
The new national police chief, Gen. Wichean Potephosree, said police could handle the situation but needed to tighten security measures.
The latest in a series of bombings believed linked to Thailand's fractious politics occurred late Saturday night at Bangkok's Royal Turf Club, a race course closely associated with the country's ruling class.
Dozens of bombings have plagued the capital this year in tandem with anti-government protests by supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. At least half-a-dozen grenades have exploded since July at targets connected to the government, killing one person and wounding a dozen more.
There have been no claims of responsibility for any of the attacks, though the government has suggested the attacks are part of an anti-government conspiracy.
Twenty-four patrol units will be deployed at 143 locations in and around the Thai capital considered to be on "very high alert," including the royal family's residences, government offices and houses of key individuals. All police commanders have also been asked to beef up their intelligence system.
In addition to stepping up patrols, the police will publish booklets and posters to educate people about suspicious items that could be explosive devices.
"Sometimes people see something weird but they don't realize the hazard that could come with it," said metropolitan police spokesman Maj. Gen. Piya Uthayo.
National police spokesman Maj. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri said the pamphlets would be published within the next few days and be distributed to police stations across Bangkok and to motorcycle taxi drivers who belong to volunteer surveillance groups. He said the booklets would probably not be given out to everyone.
"We would like people to be watchful but at the same time we don't want to create an image that would cause panic or make them think that Bangkok is an unsafe city," he said. "It can be a double-edged sword."