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Anger at the destruction of illegal restaurants and bars appears to have boiled over with staff of the Sirinart Marine National Park receiving death threats.
Park Chief Kitipat Tharapiban told The Phuket News, “My team and I are being very careful after we received a call from an unknown person on Thursday (July 31) warning us that we are all on a gunman’s “kill” list.
“This whole issue is about money. But it is not a time for influential people in Phuket to throw their weight around. They must accept what is happening.
“I have already informed the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) about this. They have organised it so that the Army and the Navy will join us whenever we carry out a mission [to demolish illegal structures].”
A member of his staff who did not want to be named told The Phuket News that he had taken the death threat call.
“I got a very brief call from an unidentified man. He said that the names of all my team are on the list. He added, ‘Beware!’.
“I asked around and it seems like he is from the Thung-Yai group of assassins from Nakhon Sri Thammarat province. They are apparently armed with M16 assault rifles.”
(Thung Yai, or Big Field, is the name of a district in Nakhon Sri Thammarat Province.)
“I don’t know what is going to happen to us. We have never encountered these people before.” But he put a brave face on things: “We will do our job honestly for the good of the country.”
Capt Petrat Tienjan, deputy director of the Naval Command Division of the Royal Thai Naval Third Fleet, said, “Yes, I heard about this. We are already supporting the Sirinat Park mission. We can also call on the help of special forces based at Phuket International Airport if an emergency situation arises.
“I really want to meet the ‘influential’ people who are behind these threats to the Sirinat Park staff. I want to arrest them, take them before a military court and see them thrown in jail.”