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Cops extend hunt for Samila bomber

SONGKHLA: Songkhla Police are tracking a vehicle suspected of having been used to carry out bomb attacks on electricity pylons between two districts as authorities insist other explosions in the province which damaged the iconic mermaid statue have not hurt local tourism.

tourismSafetypolice
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 29 December 2018, 11:31AM


A garland is placed on the repaired mermaid sculpture on Samila beach of Songkhla province on Friday as local residents and officials organised an event to boost confidence after bomb explosions there. Photo: Assawin Pakkawan / Bangkok Post

A garland is placed on the repaired mermaid sculpture on Samila beach of Songkhla province on Friday as local residents and officials organised an event to boost confidence after bomb explosions there. Photo: Assawin Pakkawan / Bangkok Post

Bang Klam police chief Phatthanaphong Thongduang said the investigation team was searching for the vehicle involved in the launch of the two bombs.

Investigators were also reviewing security cameras in nearby areas and interviewing people who might have driven the vehicle involved, he said.

Two legs supporting each of the two pylons were blown off in Ban Bang Riang on the border between the Bang Klam and Khuan Niang districts on Thursday (Dec 27).

Forensic police yesterday continued to work at the pylon attack sites as they scoured the area for evidence.

Debris scattered around the blast sites was collected. Police said improvised bombs used in the pylon attacks were similar to those launched at the mermaid statue on Wednesday.

The explosions occurred about 10pm on Wednesday, one at the iconic mermaid sculpture, and the other 300 metres away near the sculpture of a cat and rat in Songkhla’s Muang District. The tail of the mermaid sculpture broke off while the cat and rat sculpture was left unscathed by the other explosion.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said yesterday that repairs of the pylons might take a couple more days to finish.

Chirawit Omak, a senior Egat engineer leading the repairs, gave his assurance the damaged poles will not disrupt power supplies to the nearby commercial district of Hat Yai.

In the mermaid explosion case, police said there was no political motive and investigators were looking at other possible motives, including a conflict among groups of local tourism operators.

However, insurgent activity has not been ruled out.

Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said yesterday that intensive security checks are being conducted to ensure Songkhla remains a safe place to visit.

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Chanin Sakharin, president of the Songkhla’s tourism industry council, insisted the bomb attack on the mermaid sculpture has not affected Songkhla’s tourism, which was “business as usual”.

“The attack on the iconic mermaid sculpture has brought the local people together and made them even more united ever,” he said.

He said local people organised entertainment to attract visitors to Songkhla yesterday.

Many tourists were seen strolling along the Samila beach and playing water sports.

Some dropped by to have their pictures taken with the damaged mermaid sculpture even as artisans were trying to put the brass sculpture, five decades old, back together. The statue tail was re-attached to the body yesterday.

Somsak Tantiserani, mayor of Songkhla municipality, said the municipality has decided to move the New Year merit-making ceremony to the mermaid sculpture to show the local people’s resilience.

A large number of locals and Malaysian and Singaporean tourists visited the damaged sculpture during the day, he said.

“The bombing attack on the mermaid sculpture has united the people in Muang district more than ever,” he said.

 

Read original story here.

 

 

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