After yesterday’s announcement that the US government had killed Osama bin Laden, Thailand’s prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced increased security measures would be put into effect in the Thai capital and beyond. Increased police presence at the United States Embassy, the US Ambassador’s house and the residences of key US embassy staff – this after Abhisit voiced concern Muslim extremists in Thailand’s south may retaliate for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
For those living or visiting Thailand with concerns about their safety, it would seem only common sense to avoid US-owned hotels, businesses, stores and restaurants for the foreseeable future as well as, of course, the US embassy unless it’s absolutely necessary.
In the past, American-owned businesses overseas, such as the Marriott in Pakistan and the Ritz-Carlton in Indonesia, have been the target of bomb attacks by Muslim extremists, and McDonald’s in France and Australia were the target of two explosions by terrorists not affiliated with Muslim groups. Two McDonalds in Saudi Arabia were also targets of arson and a firebomb in 2003, although in the firebomb incident the Muslim man who threw it neglected to light it before hurling it at the restaurant.
Security experts all over the world though are warning of a likelihood of increased attacks against American interests and American individuals so, if you wish to be prudent, avoiding American-owned businesses and eating and shopping at local Thai establishments is wise.
Besides, it’s not all a bad thing……..Thai-owned businesses are often cheaper and much more unique. You can eat McDonalds at home.