Four hundred new close-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras were recently installed in Hat Yai Municipality, a district level administration of Songkhla province in Southern Thailand, in the wake of the deadly car bomb attacks which occurred at the end of March.
By middle of April, Hat Yai Municipality had already installed 400 surveillance cameras under a total budget of THB120 million (US$3.9 million). The local administration is planning to install 100 extra units under the budget of next fiscal year, which is expected to start in February next year.
Hat Yai is a city of 200,000 residents located nearly the border with Malaysia. It is the largest city of Songkhla Province, the largest metropolitan area in Southern Thailand, and third largest metropolitan area of the country.
On March 30, The city experienced its first major car bomb targeting a hotel that killed at least three people and injured 23 foreigners, causing serious structural damage to the 33-storey, 405-room Lee Garden Plaza Hotel, a popular spot for visiting Malaysian tourists.
Apart from the municipal area within the district of Hat Yai, the local authorities of Songkhla province will install another 30 CCTV cameras in the suburbs. The installation is expected to be completed within three months with approved budget of THB 15 million (US$ 500,000).
Songkhla’s Governor Kruesada Bunrat said that safety zones with intensified security measures had been enforced in urban areas of Hat Yai.
“Hat Yai will be under CCTV surveillance to improve security and friendly ambiance for tourists,” he said.
Deputy prime minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha said that the ‘safety zones’ had been set up in the past in the three southernmost provinces where violence is rampant. Now they will be introduced in commercial centres and other densely populated areas.
These ‘safety zones’ had been created to ensure extra security but never applied to metropolitan areas in the South, especially in Hat Yai, as the operations involved troops in full combat gear.