The scorched shelves of a burnt-out convenience store – a symbol of capitalism and a destroyer of the local economy according to the BRN – in the Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat. (Photo: Waedao Harai)
The separatist movement Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) claimed responsibility for the wave of attacks on convenience stores in the Far South early Wednesday, saying the chain stores were destroying the economy of local communities.
He apologized that one person was killed in the attacks and said it was unintentional.
Arson and bombings were coordinated at 17 locations, mostly convenience stores, in the three southernmost border provinces in the early hours of Wednesday.
The BRN claimed Thursday on its Facebook page. He said the attacks were aimed at damaging these “symbols” of Thai capitalism, which have destroyed the economies of local communities.
He said the loss of life was unintentional. Its members had told store staff and customers to leave the premises.
“The attacks were aimed at hitting the power of capitalism, which is spreading rapidly in Patani. It is the power that is ruining community economies and causing the closure of many community stores,” the BRN said.
The separatist organization said convenience store chains forced their franchisees’ stores to close by offering discounts at their own stores which were then built nearby.
He also accused convenience store chains of imitating the products of other commercial operators and thus confusing consumers.
According to the BRN, convenience stores sell goods at high prices by reducing the contents sold in small packages, which amounts to being more expensive than the same goods sold in larger packages.
The BRN alleged that the government and armed forces supported the influence of convenience store chains.
The BRN did not name or further explain the “unwitting” victim of the attacks.
Police said Masarit Mama, 21, a resident of tambon Puyo in Sungai Kolok district, Narathiwat, was killed. Her body was found in the ruins of a burnt-out 7-Eleven store at a PTT gas station in Sungai Kolok on Wednesday evening.
Eyewitnesses said the attackers ordered store staff and customers to leave before setting it on fire. However, Masarit ran to a locked back door and died in the flames.
Officials said seven other people were lightly injured in the multiple attacks in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces, which began minutes before midnight on Tuesday.
Many 7-Eleven and Mini Big C stores were aimed at gas stations.