PHUKET: Island officials yesterday denounced the Australian government’s warning of possible civil unrest and threat of a terrorist attack in Phuket.
“We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand overall due to the possibility of civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack, including Bangkok and Phuket,” said the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smartraveller advisory service (click here).
The warning went on to warn Australians against travel in the Deep South provinces, which are well-known for insurgency attacks.
“There are no terrorist organizations operating in Phuket. I have no idea why the Australian government would single out the island,” Phuket Provincial Commander Patchara Boonyasit told the Phuket Gazette.
“It is well known that the insurgency Thailand faces is in the Deep South, which is currently being handled by very capable officers.
“I would of course like to see Phuket removed from the notice – it is an unfair tarnishing of the province and could end up causing people to panic unnecessarily.”
Phuket Tourism Association (PTA) President Bhuritt Maswongssa was also unaware of the warning.
“I was unaware of the warning. We are following up on the matter, and as always, we are making the safety of everyone one the island our top priority,” Mr Bhuritt said.
— Chutharat Plerin