PHUKET TOWN: Police are planning to increase their presence in Saphan Hin and a police box will be erected there following another gang murder at the now-notorious recreation area. After dark, the park transforms from a peaceful area for sports and picknickers into a dangerous playground for thrillseekers and ruffians. The latest killing took place on Wednesday (see “Murder on wheels”, below). Despite frequent roadside checks, illegal motorcycle racing takes place regularly at Saphan Hin, with crashes and occasional fatalities – one racer died last week when he crashed and his head was impaled on a fencepost. Violence has also increased in the past year. On the mangrove walkway last July a man was killed by two others intent on raping his girlfriend, causing the walk to be closed at night. In November, another man was found stabbed to death in the sea near Saphan Hin. The violence escalated last month, when a German couple were attacked and beaten. The following day, one man was shot dead and several others wounded in a gang fight involving some 30 people. On February 18, a 21-year-old was shot and seriously wounded. Pol Col Paween Pongsirin, Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, says that stricter measures to control the park’s visitors will be taken following the latest shooting. Both full-time officers and volunteers will be used to increase the police presence. They will also target teenage gangsters. “These teenagers have family problems,” Col Paween said. “Their parents don’t devote enough time to them, but, when they get into trouble, the parents try to protect them. That makes it harder for us.”
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