"Thailand Has Returned To Normal" For Hua Hin ASEAN summit in October

We’ve got 10,000, do we hear 20,000? A 20,000 bid from the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) in Bangkok. But wait, it was only 10,000 troops last week and this week we’re already at 20,000 security personnel. No telling how many there will be by the time the 23rd arrives.

The Earthtimes writes:

Thailand has assigned 18,298 security personnel to keep the peace at this month’s summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), news reports said Saturday. The decision to deploy the army and police personnel was made Friday at a meeting of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), chaired by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the state-run Thai News Agency said.

Thailand is to host the 15th ASEAN summit October 23-25 in Prachuab Khiri Khan province, 130 kilometres south-west of Bangkok.

Most sources tell us that Hua Hin has a population of around 50,000 inhabitants though during a long weekend it may seem like three or four times that. While that may not be the coastal village described on The Hua Hin Pages, FBF isn’t sure how the addition of 20,000 troops security personnel is going to prove Thailand has returned to normal.

Much of the province, including its two main beach resorts of Hua Hin and Cha-am, is to be placed under the Internal Security Act October 12-27, which allows authorities to crack down on any protests or any signs of violent intent with impunity.

“The prime minister reiterated that the upcoming summit would prove to other nations that the situation in Thailand has returned to normal,” government spokesman Panitan Watanayagorn told the agency.

Dr Panitan, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, goes on to tell the Mass Communications Organization of Thailand (MCOT) here:

the meeting approved the “Cha-am-Hua Hin 521” operational plan and the establishment of a joint security operations centre for the 15th ASEAN Summit under the supervision by Defence Minister.

(and) that combined forces of 18,298 security personnel, including 4,000 police and 5,000 military, will be deployed to maintain order during the ASEAN Summit and related meetings.

The ISOC meeting has evaluated that there will likely be movement from three groups; political activists in Phetchaburi and Prachuab Khiri Khan provinces, environmental activists and academic groups as well as some groups from other provinces, ” said Dr Panitan.

We have already coodinated with them to gather in specific areas designated for demonstration, said Dr Panitan.

The acting government spokesman however affirmed that intelligence agencies have so far not found any suspicious movements linked to international terrorist groups, but it would continue keeping a close watch  saying that the Royal Thai Navy will also monitor the sea area of 12 nautical miles adjacent to the three nautical miles (5.6 kilometre) zone declared off-limits, while security personnel will monitor important spots in the Thai capital.

Xinhua adds this tidbit:

The cabinet also approved a budget of about 296 million baht (8.85 million U.S. dollars) to finance security measures to ensure security at the Summit’s venues, Thai language news agency INN reported.

Perhaps it’s time to visit the folks or take another long tour of Esan. At least school’s out.

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