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Police target teenage gangs

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Police target teenage gangs | Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: In a move to improve public safety, police have launched a campaign targeting wayward youngsters, with special attention being given to teenage gangs. Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Veerayuth Sittimalic told the Gazette today that the crackdown began two weeks ago with after-dark patrols at Saphan Hin, long a hotspot for teenage gang violence. He explained that the campaign follows an order by Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura to eradicate teenage violence at Saphan Hin, which during the day is a popular recreation venue for Phuket Town residents. “Traffic police set up two checkpoints at Saphan Hin every night from 10 pm to midnight, with four officers manning each checkpoint,” said Gen Veerayuth. “Another 25 plainclothes officers from Special Operations patrol the area from 2 am to 6 am.” He added that the Special Operations officers – who have training similar to Swat teams in the US – along with uniformed officers, are on the lookout for hoodlums, and have been staking out known trouble spots elsewhere on the island. “Several teenage gangs are currently under police surveillance. When these gangs meet they usually fight with weapons such as guns and knives,” he said. Commenting on the campaign’s effectiveness so far, Gen Veerayuth said, “We have arrested many gang members between 18 and 20 years old. Most of them had weapons.” However, he added, “Although the number of gang members [at Saphan Hin] has been reduced over the past two weeks, they still try to start trouble in other places. We will continue our surveillance and will expand it to include other trouble spots.” Looking at the bigger picture, Gen Veerayuth added, “What we are doing is tackling the effects of the problem, not the primary cause. To solve the problems in the long-term, schools and parents must become more involved, too.”

 

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