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Thailand Beefs Up Security for ASEAN Summit

  • Reasey Pooch

Thailand has beefed up security for the 14th ASEAN Summit this week in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin. Besides protecting the leaders and their delegations, Thailand hopes to prove the country is safe for tourists to return.

Thailand has deployed 5,000 police officers plus nearly 2,000 military personnel to provide protection for the ASEAN leaders who gather this weekend.

Deputy Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Prachak Phromsiri says the Thai police have spent a month preparing security.

"This is the highest responsibility of the Royal Thai Police to make the highest security for the Summit and we have done a lot of things preparing for the summit," he said.

Prachak says political unrest will be the main challenge, but he does not expect protests related to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

"We are preparing as if they are coming but right now that they are not going to come. But some small groups such as the NGOs, the environmental protection people, human rights. But those are small groups. We are preparing for them to submit their opinions," he said.

Foreign tourists have stayed away from Thailand since protesters took over the international airport last November to demand the resignation of the prime minister.

On Monday, nearly 10,000 anti-government protesters rallied outside the Government House to put more pressure on the current government to step down.