Southern Thailand’s Hat Yai railway targeted again
Train services between Hat Yai and Khlong Ngae in southern Thailand‘s Songkhla province were temporarily suspended again yesterday when officials discovered that several parts of the railway track had been removed by suspected insurgents.
Services on the railway, which connects Hat Yai in southern Thailand to Padang Besar in Malaysia, resumed on New Year’s Day after the track was repaired following two bombings that killed three maintenance workers and injured four more people last month.
Officials found that 325 plate screws on the railway track were missing as well as five sleeper plates in Khlong Ngae village, Sadao district.
Security officials suspect that the same insurgents who bombed the track last month attempted to sabotage the track again in an attempt to cause injuries and deaths.
Trains between Hat Yai and Klong Ngae were suspended and resumed in the afternoon once the tracks had been repaired.
On December 3, freight train 707 travelling from Hat Yai to Padang Besar derailed and overturned in the Tha Pho subdistrict, Sadao district, after a bomb detonated on the tracks. The train’s four members of staff were not hurt but the train and tracks were heavily damaged.
Three days later, on December 6, three maintenance workers were killed and four were injured by another bomb blast while they were repairing the tracks from the first bombing.
Repairs on the track were completed by the new year. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) resumed services on Sunday and deployed soldiers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officers, and police to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
Just days later, the track – which offers the only train service connecting Thailand and Malaysia – has been targeted again.
Malaysia was Thailand’s top tourism market this year. Many Malaysian tourists enter Thailand via the land border on the shuttle train. Repeated attacks on the railway will be detrimental to Malaysian tourism in southern Thailand, which is vital to both the local and national economies.
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