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Security concerns threaten Phuket concert for Myanmar nationals

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The very first concert in Phuket dedicated to entertaining Myanmar nationals may yet be canceled for security reasons.

Posters and billboards erected around Phuket Town promote the “Myanmar – Thai Cultural Relationship Concert” to be held in a field behind Bus Terminal 1 on Phang Nga Road on January 31.

The event is to feature Myanmar celebrities R Zarni, Ni Ni Khin Zaw, Han Htun and the pop-folk band The Trees.

“The main purpose of the concert is for people to enjoy themselves and to see some of the most popular music artists from Myanmar perform in Phuket for the very first time,” a spokesperson for the event organizer, who asked not to be named, told the Phuket Gazette.

“We would also like to take the opportunity to provide concert-goers with basic information that they should know in order to live in Thailand legally and observe the local culture.”

However, Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkhaosutthirak, who sits as deputy chair of the provincial standing committee for internal security, today confirmed that he was not aware of plans for the concert.

It is the responsibility of the committee to first approve any such large gatherings in Phuket; a responsibility that existed long before martial law was introduced immediately after the coup on May 22 last year and the ensuing ban on any large gatherings as ordered by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

“I had no idea about this concert, and as I am on the internal security committee, I should have been informed before they went ahead with promoting the event,” he said.

“Personally, I do not agree with the idea, especially for security concerns. Can you imagine tens of thousands of migrant workers coming together in the same place, at the same time?”

V/Gov Somkiet conceded that the decision on whether or not to approve the concert was not his alone to make, as Governor Nisit Jansomwong chairs the committee.

“I will inform him of this,” V/Gov Somkiet assured.

Governor Nisit last week announced a raft of measures to improve security at large worker camps throughout Phuket after a mass brawl between Myanmar and Cambodian workers at a camp near Phuket International Airport on New Year’s Day saw several people injured and workers’ huts torched (story here).

The concert planned for January 31 would be a first for the island. Previous attempts to hold it in Phuket have been shot down. A concert in 2007 was canceled for security reasons (story here) while another in 2012 was called off and moved to Phang Nga (story here).

— Saroj Kueprasertkij

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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