Thai junta urged to consider lifting martial law in tourist areas

Thai junta urged to consider lifting martial law in tourist areas

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) may be asked to consider on Friday lifting martial law in some tourism-oriented districts and provinces where the curfew had been lifted earlier.

First Army region chief Lt-General Theerachai Nakwanit, who also serves as Peace Keeping Force commander, reportedly instructed every military region to evaluate the political situation and see if there were still moves to rally against the NCPO.

If no group was found to be staging any political activity against the NCPO, he would propose to the NCPO chief and Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, at the NCPO meeting tomorrow that martial law be lifted.

The provinces where martial law will be proposed to be lifted include those where the curfew had been earlier revoked as well as tourism-oriented provinces such as Pattaya, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi and Rayong and those in the South.

Theerachai said officials rarely enforced the Martial Law but it was necessary as some regular laws cannot be effectively enforced, such as in the case of narcotic combating and some security situations.

Basically, the martial law does not disturb the normal life of people, he said and added unless there remained some problems concerning security matter, the martial law can be lifted. NCPO legal and justice procedure chief General Paiboon Koomchaya said Prayuth had only mentioned about relaxing martial law, but the NCPO had not officially discussed the matter.

He said martial law did not cause any obstacles and problems to the people but he admitted that the imposition of martial law did adversely affect the country's image in the eyes of foreign countries.

The military had used martial law in the public interest in order to crack down on influential figures such as drug traders, he said. "Problems and issues related to social organisation could be quickly resolved when we impose martial law," he added.

He said although the imposition of martial law might have negatively affected the country's image and was believed to have reduced the country's competitiveness in the tourism sector, he did not believe martial law had a direct impact on tourism businesses. "Surveys showed that tourists visiting the country were satisfied with their stay and they understood the country's circumstances", he said.

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