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Time to up curfew patrols

A rise in alcohol-fuelled parties and blatant defiance of the curfew order has prompted a meeting of defence and police chiefs who say they have “lost patience with wrongdoers who challenge laws and fail to abide by compulsory health guidelines”.

The meeting was told law violations, including hosting and attending booze-fuelled gatherings, have increased by 21% over the past seven days following a gradual easing of the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus spread.

Defence Forces chief Gen Pornpipat Benyasri called a meeting with three armed forces leaders on measures to reinforce patrols during the six-hour curfew from 10pm to 4am.

Many people were not staying home during the period, saying they had errands to run or were visiting friends but “are these claims excuses?” assistant national police chief and spokesman Piya Uthayo asked yesterday during the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily press briefing at Government House on the country’s Covid-19 infections.

The 21% increase — 956 cases — brought the total number of offences to 5,363 from May 3 to 10, compared with 4,407 during the week before May 3 when the partial lockdown lift started, Pol Lt Gen Piya said.

Pol Lt Gen Piya said officers tried to avoid taking harsh legal action against them and gave warnings instead.

“But we’re losing patience because after the first and second warnings, as we still find them illegally gathering and drinking,” Pol Lt Gen Piya said. “They drink and cause noise. We’ve received many calls over their behaviour.”

Gen Pornpipat and national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said officers have already given warnings. “It’s time to get tough,” Pol Lt Gen Piya said.

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