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Be alert but stay calm and do what you normally do, says Phuket Governor

Phuket Governor Urges Calm After Terror Warning: Act Normally, He Tells Residents and Tourists

Friday, December 4, 2015
PHUKET: The Governor of Phuket today urged tourists and residents to continue as normal despite a warning that terrorists are planning attacks on businesses on Phuket, in Pattaya and in other parts of Thailand .

Popular holiday spots for tourists are believed to be among targets in an Islamic State plot to attack Thailand, according to a Russian security briefing that claimed two Syrians were sent to Phuket, four to Pattaya, two to Bangkok and two more to an undisclosed destination in Thailand between October 15-31.

Following initial reports that police in Phuket and Pattaya were unfamiliar with the warning, the Governor of Phuket, Jamleran Tipayapongtada, said today that all military, police and other authorities were aware of the reports and had intensified security precautions.

The warning came from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and encouraged Thai counterparts to boost security around ''targeted areas that Russian authorities are concerned about, including venues associated with allies that have joined attacks on ISIS in Syria such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia''.

Governor Jamleran said that visitors and residents should go about their normal activities without being alarmed, but they should become more cautious.

''Everybody who lives on Phuket or is visiting Phuket can help,'' he said. ''Please let police know if you see something that is not quite right.''

The governor said he aimed to increase the number of security cameras across Phuket and also make sure that the ones that were not working were repaired.

''Phuket is a peaceful destination and if you are planning a visit, please continue to behave as normal.''

Businesses known to be associated with nations that have committed to fighting Islamic State would be provided with extra security, he said.

''Envoys from those countries are being extremely helpful with additional information,'' he said.

The terror warning for Thailand holiday destinations was being reported around the world today, with the governor's comments expected to help to prevent cancellations.

Phuket's safety zone campaigns involving local residents have reduced crimes and the leaders of the local Muslim community have frequently spoken out about the need for Phuket to remain peaceful and free from the effects of international terror campaigns.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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I'm surprised that this information was leaked/released to the public.

By doing so and possibly creating panic or even just discomfort, it plays into the hands of ISIS.

They want to create fear and terror.

It's not often I would speak up in support of withholding information from the public but this is one of such situations. I see no positive effects from someone having done so.

I agree with the Governor - go about your lives as usual.

Posted by Herbert on December 4, 2015 14:36

Editor Comment:

The Governor and police will be relieved that you are in favor of democratic decision-making. For a minute there, I thought you were supporting dictatorial ideas, Herbert.

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I'm sure they had a few anxious moments awaiting my response but they can once again breathe freely.

Let's see if they add me to their Christmas card list.

Posted by Herbert on December 4, 2015 15:30

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The Russians often receive much stick, but in this matter, we owe them our thanks. We have every right to know if there is a heightened risk to visitors so that we can make an informed decision. I don't appreciate it when security agencies and local governments conceal information because they are concerned that it might impact profits. The Russian government acted to protect its nationals as is their duty to do. It is now up to the EU, USA and Australia to issue warnings to their nationals, if need be. The Russians have learnt from past tragedies such as the Bali bombing where warnings to visitors were not provided even though the threat was known and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization had warned Qantas of an imminent threat. Smart people learn from past mistakes and misjudgements.

Posted by Ryan on December 5, 2015 08:10

Editor Comment:

And the fact is, whether in Paris, London, Barcelona, Moscow, or California, we are all at risk as long as these extremists are out there. Just like Londoners during the IRA campaign, people have to continue life as normal. Anything else is waving a white flag to terror.

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I will avoid areas with large concentrations of Russians

Posted by Paul on December 6, 2015 07:48

Editor Comment:

You mean, all the places that everyone goes? Airports, beaches, shopping centres, restaurants, bars? Good luck with that.

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Yes Ed, It is not possible to avoid Russians on airplanes and at the airport but for the time being I shall avoid places where there are large concentrations of Russians when possible by frequenting places where they are normally not in abundance.
If they are being targeted by IS then that is a sensible approach to enhance my safety
I recently had a friend killed by the IS on the beach in Tunisia, I do not want to be another person killed by them from my home town
You say I am capitulating to the IS, I accept that.
IS is an evil which must be destroyed but it will take a long time

Posted by Paul on December 6, 2015 10:35

Editor Comment:

Having once been quite close to an IRA car bomb I realised that taking precautions may not have the indended result. Beaches should be safe. They are not. Restaurants should be safe. They are not. Aircraft should be safe. They are not. Best to lead a normal life and to be confident that in the end, good will triumph.

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@ Paul

Identifying the nationality of a person simply by looking at them is a skill that can only be acquired through extensive travels and even then it's still a hit or miss.

For a Syrian goat herder to be able to tell Russians apart from other nationalities is highly unlikely.

They might seek out places with large concentrations of Russians but I could not point out a single such location on Phuket.

Can you Paul ?

Alternatively they will randomly attack any persons they think could be Russian.

Point being, trying to avoid Russians and thinking you'll be safer that way is about as useful as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

Posted by Herbert on December 6, 2015 11:35

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Paul,
So you are off for a trip to Russia then.

Herbert,
Good chance you can identify nationality by how they speak or at least isolate it down to a few.

Its harder nowadays to determine a persons sex and given 2 chances, its possible to still get it wrong.

Posted by MoW on December 6, 2015 12:12

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Ed, I lived in London during the Irish Republican Army bombing campaign of London which lasted several years and claimed many lives.
Living a normal life under those conditions is not possible, you may think you are living a normal life but you are not, constantly being aware of bomb threats, being evacuated from buildings, police road checks, police random searches, people being killed and you deliberately change your life style an dmovements to minimise the risks to yourself by avoiding possible danger
If Russians are being targeted as we are being told then it is sensible to avoid where they congregate in large numbers

Posted by Paul on December 6, 2015 16:12

Editor Comment:

I was close to a car bomb - the windows of the bank I was passing shattered - and worked at the Daily Express, which was a target. I am quite certain it's not always possible to change your life much when confronted with random terror. We kept catching the tube, and we kept going to pubs. The alternative is just what they want: to acknowledge your fear.

And where do Russians congregate in large numbers on Phuket? Everywhere everybody else congregates. There is no greater danger or need for extra precautions on Phuket than there is anywhere else in the world.

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Good point Herbert,
I would have a good chance at identifying Russians by their appearance, manner and importantly their speech, but as you say, an IS bomber from wherever he comes from may not identify them and kill as many people who they think may be Russian.
The world is rapidly becoming a very sad and dangerous place

Posted by Paul on December 6, 2015 16:44

Editor Comment:

Actually there are fewer wars than ever before in modern history, Paul, but the nature of suicide bombers and people who are willing to crash planes into skyscrapers makes it appear more dangerous. The risks are now more evenly spread, that's all. But the chances of becoming a victim remain very slight. No need to curl up into the foetal position just yet.

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@ MoW

Yes, you are of course correct.

Language is an essential factor but you have to be close enough to hear it.

I consider myself rather well traveled and due to my business, both past and present, have had a lot of contact with Russians.

I'm also familiar with Slavic languages and can for example tell Polish or Czech from Russian but I wager most could not.

Can you ?

Where I'm totally clueless is trying to distinguish Ukrainian from Russian. Both sound exactly the same to me.

I'm equally lost when trying to decipher if a Cyrillic text is Russian or Bulgarian.

Many people in former Soviet states also still use Russian so the target might speak Russian but be from Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Azerbaijan etc.

I'm sure ISIS is not too concerned about such semantics but I just wanted to make the point of how pointless trying to avoid Russians in this situation is.

If people start to avoid a certain nationality because ISIS has declared them a target, then they have already achieved one goal without having to do anything.

I'd rather not help them in that.

Posted by Herbert on December 6, 2015 22:09

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Herbert,
All I know it that I would run pretty fast for that 1.5 seconds after hearing a person yell in Arabic "god is great".

I wouldnt hang around to identify their nationality. Others could piece together the clues afterwards better than me

Posted by MoW on December 7, 2015 04:26

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Even this is a Phuket page,i kindly would like to add me two cents for the Pattaya area, where i am located right now. Here surely I also do most likely businnes as usual except that i d not go for the time being to the pure Russian clubs. I just went yesterday in some to view the atmosphere and the majority of guests for really Russians, which u cant see any sign of possibly fear. The security in PAttaya in general watches bags ect so that the overall opinion is quite safe. However just the pure russian clubs i only avoid for the time being...cheers

Posted by Oliver on December 7, 2015 16:42

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@ Herbert. You're obviously an amateur. Listen closely. You will hear the soft, melodic tones of Ukrainian vs the hard, guttural sound of Russian.

Posted by Paradise on December 7, 2015 22:28

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@ Paradise

Thank you for making my point.

Posted by Herbert on December 8, 2015 10:07


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