CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Military has asked astrologers to refrain from making unfounded earthquake predictions that could cause public panic and damage the nation’s tourist industry.
Khaosod English reported Monday that military junta spokesperson Yongyuth Mayalarp has asked “predictors to use their judgement carefully when they spread such information.”
“I want them to consider the consequences, because in the past, there have been astrological predictions that have caused panic and affected tourism,” he added.
Monday’s statement follows a number of predictions by astrologers in the past week saying that a natural disaster will strike Thailand in the coming months. Many Thais rely on astrological prophesies and spiritual beliefs to guide their daily lives the Asian Correspondent reported.
Residents in southern Thailand have been on edge after a 4.6-magnitude quake struck off the west coast last week. That quake, which was felt in parts of Phang Nga, Phuket and Krabi, did no damage.
While small quakes are a fairly regular occurrence in Thailand, Yongyuth insisted that anything higher than 7-magnitude is highly unlikely, and that early warning systems are in place for any tsunamis caused by quakes in the Indian Ocean.
“I would like to ask the people to ease their concerns, and follow correct information and news from the authorities,” he said.
A magnitude-6.3 earthquake struck in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, in May last year killing one person and damaging roads and buildings. It was felt as far away as Bangkok and Burma’s capital Yangon.
China has also moved to crack down on unauthorised natural disaster and weather predictions. On May 1, a new regulation approved by China’s Meteorological Organization came into force stating that, aside from authorized entities, “any organization or individual cannot release in any form weather forecast to the public.”