Author Topic: More Than 90 Percent Of Shops Close In South Thailand  (Read 476 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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More Than 90 Percent Of Shops Close In South Thailand
« on: October 05, 2012, 09:45:25 PM »
More Than 90 Percent Of Shops Close In South Thailand

BANGKOK, Oct 5 (Bernama) -- More than 90 per cent of shops in Thailand's three restive provinces in the south of the country continued to be closed on Friday for the third consecutive week following rumours of potential threats if they ignored a "closure order".

The rumours which were spread by word of mouth has threatened the economy of the three provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

Most of the shopkeepers feared that they would be the target of violence if they ignored the "order" allegedly made in respect of Friday, a holy day for Muslims.

Bernama checks found that all kinds of shops including grocery shops, goldsmiths, hardware shops, markets, food stalls and restaurants were almost deserted while half of the convenient stores and petrol stations were closed.

People too refused to shop as they feared they would be targeted if they ignored the "order".

However, supermarkets and banks in the three provinces operated as usual.

The rumour have even affected transportation services in the three provinces as inter-province and inter-district van services only operated after Friday prayers, starting at about 1.15pm (local time).

It is not clear who are the parties responsible for the rumours but it seems that the people in the three provinces are taking them seriously.

Their fears come in the wake of shooting incidents at goldsmith shops and bombings in Saiburi town on Sept 21 and rumours widely circulating that they became targets because they ignored the "order".

"We just don't want to take the risk," said Karim Anshari, a shopkeeper in Pattani.

In view of the developments in the past two weeks, the government has taken several measures including getting top Islamic spiritual leaders to announce that working on Fridays did not contradict teachings of Islam.

Thailand's Fourth Region Army Commander Lt Gen Udomchai Thammasarorath said extremists were using this tactic to instill fear among the people.

"They have misused Islam in meeting their objectives," he said.

More than 5,000 people have died since suspected separatists resumed their armed campaign to seek independence for the three provinces, where the majority of the people are Muslims, eight years ago.