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Phuket fireworks crackdown during Loy Krathong festival



PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Police chief has ordered an island-wide crime crackdown during Loy Krathong celebrations, with police to set up checkpoints in key areas to prevent criminal activities, including illegal use of fireworks.

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Pekad Tantipong said the Loy Krathong festival was an important and beautiful Thai cultural tradition worth preserving.

As a result, security will be highest in areas where participants, both Thai and foreigners, gather to release their krathong into the water.

To prevent disruption of what is intended to be a peaceful and family-oriented tradition, officers will be on the lookout for illegal narcotics use and firearms.

They will also arrest and prosecute anyone caught using or selling fireworks illegally, as these are another threat to safety and security, he said.

The crackdown on fireworks comes in stark contrast to the Phuket Vegetarian Festival held last month.

Before that 10-day event, Maj Gen Pekad said fireworks use would be tolerated because it was based on spiritual beliefs.

He also conceded that the sheer number of fireworks involved during the Vegetarian Festival made it practically impossible for officers to enforce the law over the period.

But during the Loy Krathong festival, officers will conduct inspections and prosecute anyone found selling fireworks without a license, he said.

Police would be joined in their efforts by civil defense volunteers and members of related government agencies, he said.

In addition to people who might be carrying firearms or illegal drugs, they would also crack down on child flower vendors, touts and any other individuals who might try and take unfair advantage of tourists or cause them annoyance, he said.


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