20,000+ CCTV cameras in Bangkok are here to stay

More than 20,000 CCTV spy cameras have been installed in Bangkok and its environs in the guise of security for the APEC summit, according to national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas.

Damrongsak chaired a meeting on security and traffic on Thursday to follow up on “APEC security” operations with more than 30 agencies.

The summit takes place today and tomorrow, but the CCTV cameras will be spying on Thai citizens for much longer.

Some 17,848 CCTV cameras have been set up across Bangkok with another 5,000 in Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan, Damrongsak said.

More than 35,000 police are being deployed to man checkpoints along routes leading to the summit venue the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, and hotels where APEC leaders are staying. If only the police would put so much effort into protecting ordinary citizens during their everyday lives. Who is to maintain law and order in the places where these thousands of officers normally work was not disclosed.

Advanced communication and security technology is being deployed in the operation, Pol Gen Damrongsak boasted.

Pol Gen Roy Ingkapairoj, deputy national chief, on Thursday, checked on the readiness of the monitoring and information administration centre at the Central Investigation Bureau. He said the centre will verify security information on wanted criminals, suspicious individuals, vehicles, routes and more, using the CCTV cameras. Big Roy is watching you.

20,000+ CCTV cameras in Bangkok are here to stay | News by Thaiger
Big Roy is watching you.

CCTV in Bangkok, and everywhere else, increases surveillance by making it easy for the police to monitor the behaviour of innocent citizens and potential offenders alike while remaining in comfortable air-conditioned offices. CCTV is sold as deterring crime by increasing the time police officers spend in front of screens and reducing the time spent on the streets dealing with the actual bad guys.

Meanwhile, a protest group confronted riot police in front of the Terminal 21 shopping mall on Sukhumvit Road yesterday.

About 100 protesters gathered to stage a rally, some carrying placards calling for the dismissal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, while others bore signs saying “Free Hong Kong.”

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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