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Shoppers stay home as fear of more bombs lingers


Braveheart

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Extracted from The Nation: The Nation

 

One week on from the New Year bombings, popular shopping areas of Bangkok continue to suffer a plunge in daily earnings.

 

Shop owners say customers remain fearful of more explosions, which has not been helped by a wave of bomb threats and hoaxes throughout the week.

 

Several sellers at the popular Chatuchak weekend market said there were far fewer shoppers than this time last year.

 

"There are very few foreign tourists today. Usually there are a lot of international tourists shopping here at Chatuchak.

 

"They probably have heard warnings from their embassies," said Chor-thip Saiboonsri, a gift-shop owner at the market.

 

Chor-thip said the number of Thai visitors normally dropped off after the New Year break but there were still fewer than normal.

 

Clothing-shop owner Sriyakorn Chata-nilapan said her income had fallen 30 per cent because of a lack of customers.

 

Shopper Charaporn Suthi visited the market with her son but did so only because there were things she needed. She was scared of more bombs. Security patrols made her feel safer.

 

Mother of two Ratana [who did not want her family name used] said her daughters "pleaded with me to take them out shopping. I asked my friends to convince them it was not the right time and it can be dangerous out there."

 

She said she may take them shopping again in about two to three months when the "prime minister says it will be safer".

 

Safety fears have spread through the country, including to the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek International Horticultural Exposition in Chiang Mai.

 

Bus driver Charoen Paoduang said there were far fewer visitors to Chiang Mai after the Bangkok bombs.

 

"Normally, I would make 90 trips a day bringing passengers from the city to the exposition. Now, I drive only 30," he said.

 

Bomb rumours have affected his income.

 

Meanwhile, police commissioner General Kowit Wattana met with senior officers to plan security for Children's Day on January 13.

 

Kowit also visited Chatuchak to observe security measures including closed circuit television surveillance.

 

Police have yet to make any arrests following the eight explosions that killed three and injured more than 40 others.

 

It is widely suspected individuals ousted from power in the September coup are behind the attacks.

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