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05BANGKOK1075 BANGKOK WELCOMES CODEL MCHUGH

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 001075

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR RM/F/FDS/FO/AA/CAA AND H (JREDDY AND

KJENKINS)

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: OREP AMGT ASEC AFIN TH

SUBJECT: BANGKOK WELCOMES CODEL MCHUGH

 

REF: SECSTATE 21331

 

¶1. (U) Post welcomes and grants country clearance for

Congressman John McHugh and his delegation arriving in

Bangkok on THG 683 from Hanoi at 2225 local time on Thursday,

February 24. We understand that the delegation will depart

for the United States on UA 9688 at 2355 on Friday, February

¶25.

 

¶2. (U) Reservations have been made at the Conrad Hotel, 87

Wireless Road, Tel: (66-2) 690-9999, Fax: (66-2) 690-9000.

Room rate is USD 125 net (taxes and American Breakfast

included) and is within per diem for Bangkok.

 

¶3. (U) Political Military Officer Mark Lambert will assist

the delegation during their visit to Thailand. He will greet

the party upon arrival at Bangkok airport and escort them to

their hotel. The Embassy’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command

office is also expecting your visit.

 

¶4. (U) Mark Lambert’s Contact information is work: (66-2)

205-,4729; home (66-2) 651-1921, cell phone: (66-1)

808-1056. After-hours emergency number for the embassy is

(66-2) 205-4108.

 

¶5. (U) We note that the delegation will obtain Thai visas

in Washington.

 

¶6. (U) Thailand has an airport departure tax of 500 Baht

that must be paid in local currency upon departure.

 

¶7. (SBU) SECURITY INFORMATION

——————————-

 

 

(U) CRIME:

————–

 

– (U) Crime is generally non-confrontational in nature.

Criminal acts are usually crimes of opportunity such as

purse-snatchings, thefts of unattended property, and pick

pocketing. Visitors should be especially alert in crowded

buses, streets, and markets or while on “tuk-tuks.” Visitors

should lock valuables in hotel safe deposit boxes not in

their hotel rooms.

 

– (U) Be aware of common scams and frauds (including credit

cards, in particular). Visitors should only use credit cards

at well-established and reputable businesses. Visitors

should be careful when purchasing branded or copyrighted

goods. There are many pirated counterfeit products in the

marketplace; their purchase is against post regulations and

it is illegal to import these products into the U.S. Be wary

of common scams for jewelry, suits, silks, gems, or

antiquities. There are no Thai government-owned or sponsored

gem stores. If victimized, seek assistance from Tourist

Police by dialing 1155.

 

– (U) Visitors are cautioned from visiting bars involved in

the sex trade. Many of these operate illegally and clients

can be subject to RTG law; they often charge exorbitant drink

prices and cover charges. There are also many incidents of

crime against patrons in these establishments. Drugging and

robbing of unwary individuals is not uncommon. There are

frequent reports of victims being drugged and robbed or

beaten when visiting these bars. The drugs used can cause

serious temporary memory impairment, unconsciousness, and if

overdosed, death.

 

(U) TRAFFIC:

—————-

 

– (U) The traffic situation in Bangkok can be difficult and

dangerous for both pedestrians and vehicle occupants. All

visitors should be alert to traffic patterns and unexpected

motorcycle drivers. Traffic drives on the left-hand side,

opposite from the U.S., although there may be a bus lane that

flows in the opposite direction. Pedestrians should use the

overhead walkways for crossing busy streets.

 

(SBU) TERRORISM:

——————–

 

– (SBU) The threat from transnational terrorist groups to

the U.S. Mission in Bangkok is currently ranked high.

Despite stepped up RTG efforts to monitor its borders, they

remain relatively porous and allow easy illegal access.

Transnational terrorist groups, including Al-Qa-ida and

Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), have utilized Thailand as a transit

point.

 

– (SBU) The threat from indigenous terrorist groups is

currently rated as low. There is no evidence to indicate

that indigenous terrorist groups are planning acts against

U.S. personnel or facilities. The far south of Thailand has

experienced incidents of criminally and politically motivated

violence, including incidents attributed to armed local

Muslim separatist groups. Although Americans have not been

specifically targeted in the past, the indiscriminate nature

of past attacks by these groups – including bombings of

public places – indicates a potential threat to American

citizens.

 

– (U) The State Department is concerned that there is an

increased risk of terrorism in Southeast Asia, including

Thailand. Travelers to Thailand should therefore exercise

caution, especially in locations where Westerners congregate,

such as clubs, discos, bars, restaurants, hotels, tourist

areas, and other places frequented by foreigners.

 

(U) OTHER SECURITY TIPS:

—————————-

 

– (U) Visitors should avoid making any pejorative comments

about any members of the Thai Royal Family or engaging in

disrespectful conduct within temples or toward religious

objects. Such behavior can result in arrest and/or expulsion

from Thailand.

 

– (U) Precautions should also be taken not to discuss

sensitive or classified matters outside secure environments

or over unsecured and/or cellular telephones, and to securely

safeguard classified or sensitive materials at the Chancery

and not at hotels or residences.

 

– (U) Visitors should also be aware of the State

Department’s Consular Information Sheet for Thailand and the

most recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcements, which are

available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. DOD

personnel must review the PACOM Force Protection Levels for

Thailand found at http://131.84.1.218/staff/at/athome.shtml.

 

– (U) In essence, visitors to Bangkok must exercise

appropriate caution and be alert to their surroundings with

regard to their personal security. Suspicious

incidents/activities should be reported to RSO Bangkok (Tel.

02-205-4000, 24 hrs/day). On behalf of U.S. Embassy Bangkok,

we hope you have a safe and pleasant visit.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

August 26, 2011 at 5:05 am

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