Should a night curfew be imposed in Thailand’s Deep South?
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Should a night curfew be imposed in Thailand’s Deep South?

Last week, Thailand’s Deputy PM Chalerm floated the idea of a night curfew in red zone areas or areas where cases of constant insurgent violence in the Deep South per the Bangkok Post:

Local police are frustrated by human rights activists and critics who oppose curfews, he said.

Police have approached him about the possibility of imposing a curfew to help make their jobs easier.

Mr Chalerm said the government must take decisive action to stem the violence.

“We have to consider a curfew,” he said. “Critics can’t simply oppose everything.

“How can we solve the problem?

“Something has to be done. The southern unrest is getting difficult to handle.”

Mr Chalerm said any curfews are likely to take effect at night.

BP: The Defence Minister and religious leaders disagreed with the idea. Whether and where a curfew will be imposed will be discussed in an upcoming security meeting on February 15.

Veera in the Bangkok Post has some good reasons why the curfew will not work:

On the record, a curfew from 9pm to 4am the following day was imposed in Yaha and Bannang Sata districts of Yala for two years from March 2007 to August 2009, but did not end the violence.

Instead, it caused a lot of hardship and inconvenience for the civilian population, especially rubber tappers who normally get up long before dawn to tend their trees, and local Muslims who go to mosques for late night or early prayers. In the end, the curfew was lifted.

If Mr Chalerm really wants a curfew of any kind in Yaring and Krong Penang districts he must have a good answer about what to do with the rubber tappers who want to go to work and the local Muslims who want to go to pray.

He, too, will need to answer another pressing point which will certainly be raised.

I am not sure whether Mr Chalerm is aware or not that the recent deadly attack on the farmer training group occurred in the late afternoon, around 4pm or 5pm, and not at night when his curfew would be in force.

The killing of four soldiers in Mayo district of Yala last July also took place in broad daylight and in full view of CCTV security cameras. Many road bomb attacks occur during the daytime, although the holes in the roads the devices are hidden in are dug at night.

Attacks on teachers also generally occur during daylight.

BP: The curfew may be convenient for the police, but will it actually stop the violence in the Deep South? In the past, it has not and unless a compelling case can be made why this time, the curfew will be different and it may work, a curfew should not be imposed.