12 Apr 2010

Caution urged for NZ tourists in Thailand

10:11 pm on 12 April 2010

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is urging New Zealanders to exercise a high degree of caution while in Thailand following a weekend of violent protests in the capital Bangkok.

At least 21 people died in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces, some of which occurred in tourist areas. More than 800 people have been injured.

A ministry spokesperson says it has been in contact with the 350 New Zealanders in Bangkok registered with it, but estimates up to 1000 are in the Thai capital.

The ministry is urging anyone travelling to Thailand to register with the it and to avoid political demonstrations.

New Zealander Simon Grigg has been living in Bangkok for about six months and told Checkpoint the weekend's violence has left the nation stunned and most tourists have been quick to leave the capital.

"There's been a huge exodus of tourists, but it's surprising how many are still around ... Most people are feeling reasonably secure but, obviously, it's not an attractive place for a holiday right now."

No New Zealanders are known to have been injured in the protests.