Driver shot dead after firing at Thai police

Driver shot dead after firing at Thai police

A driver was shot dead in Yala province yesterday after he refused to stop at a security checkpoint and fired shots at police and a local resident, injuring them.

The deceased was identified as Nipa Jaeta, 25, a resident of Yala's Muang district, with a record of having earlier been arrested for a drug-related charge. A female resident, Firadao Jemae, suffered a gunshot wound on her leg.

The incident came as security was heightened yesterday in the three southernmost provinces in anticipation of possible violence on the eve of the tenth anniversary of the Tak Bai incident in Narathiwat.

Police, military and government officials were instructed to be on high alert and set up more vehicle checkpoints yesterday after reports that nine vehicles may be used for a symbolic protest or to perpetrate violence.

Vehicles with registration numbers from outside the areas were photo recorded and the driver's ID scrutinised.

Armoured vehicles were also deployed, particularly in areas prone to violence in Narathiwat.

All the 13 districts in Narathiwat were on high alert with officials being warned of possible violence such as the use of vehicle as a car bomb or a symbolic protest in order to boost the morale of a new generation of separatists.

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