Interior Minister in snap visit to Patong

PHUKET: Recently appointed Minister of Interior Wan Muhamad Nor Matha last night made an impromptu three-hour inspection tour of Patong and stayed at the Royal Paradise Hotel. The minister made his first public appearance in Phuket earlier in the day at a meeting of about 100 police and government officers and community leaders at Phuket Provincial Hall. K. Wan Nor explained that he decided to visit Phuket, and other southern provinces, while on a recent visit to his parents in Yala. “I came to support and encourage the Governor of Phuket and the officers here to work 100% on the situation right now because Phuket is an important province of Thailand. “Also, as the new Interior Minister, I wanted to see the situation in Phuket first-hand,” he added. Downplaying Phuket’s potential as a terrorist target, he said, “We cannot compare what has happened in Bali or Russia because those places have different people and specific problems. We don’t have problems of internal conflict or conflict with another country. “We have had a long-standing policy of friendly relations with every country, including the USA, China, Japan and Sri Lanka, and I believe that every country wants to be friends with Thailand,” he said. However, K. Wan Nor said that even if the authorities were certain that nothing would happen, they should not be negligent, especially since recent events abroad, and that they must keep up to date with the latest developments. “Phuket is not just a regional tourist destination; it is an international one. If something [adversely] affects tourism here, it would be very difficult to recover from, even if it were only rumors,” he said. At about 10 pm, K. Wan Nor began a three-hour tour of Patong, including bar beers and discotheques, and spoke to local vendors, local residents and tourists. He was accompanied by an entourage of about 30 high-ranking officials, with a strong police presence visible on the street. Standing on Thaweewong Rd late last night, he said, “I have [just] spoken with tourists from Australia, Sweden and Denmark. “Most of them said they were enjoying their stay even though their friends and families back home had told them about their governments’ warnings,” he said. “They believe they are safe in Phuket.” Meanwhile, Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi has sent details of Phuket’s upgraded security to Thai embassies and the national and international press via email. In a message posted on the Internet he also said, “We have carried out utmost security measurements and do our best to ensure visitors’ safety without affecting the congenial atmosphere.” Under the headline “Phuket Steps Up Security for Tourists” the online site of Phuket Provincial Office [ ] deals with the international concern and itemizes the local response. The governor said that every country had the right to warn their nationals about global situations. However, he agreed with the Thai Government that Thailand is not a target for any international terrorist attack.

Phuket News
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