Thailand has been ranked No. 8 among countries most prone to terrorist attacks mainly due to insurgency in the deep south.
According to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) covering 158 countries, Thailand is the worst in Southeast Asia and the fifth worst in all Asia.
The top four countries in the list are all from Asia - Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India - where terrorist incidents were "heavily concentrated".
Thailand ranks top among the Southeast Asian countries, followed by the Philippines (No 10), Indonesia (29), Myanmar (33), Malaysia (90) and Cambodia (101). Laos has not experienced terrorism over the past decade, the report said.
While the government played down Thailand's high ranking in terms of terrorism yesterday, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva expressed concerns that the news would have a negative impact on the country's image.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said he did not think incidents in the Muslim-majority South could be considered "terrorism" and that it was the media's fault for creating fear among the public. National Security Council secretary-general Lt-General Paradorn Pattanathabutr agreed, saying the degree of violence in the South could not be regarded as "terrorism".
Abhisit, however, reiterated that the ranking on the terrorism index was not good for Thailand's image.
The GTI systematically ranks and compares 158 countries according to the impact of terrorism, which is measured against four indicators - the number of incidents, deaths, injured and the level of property damage. According to the institute, the 173 violent incidents that took place in the South last year - and left 142 people dead and 427 others injured - could be documented as terrorism.
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