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Travel alert for tourists planning Bangkok visit raised to 'orange' level

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan raised its travel alert for Thailand's capital city Bangkok to orange late on Wednesday, urging its nationals to avoid unnecessary trips to the Thai capital and neighboring areas and to take precautions during their trip to the city, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.

Under MOFA's four-color-coded travel advisory system, an “orange” alert is the second highest level of warning following red, meaning Taiwanese travelers should take precautions and avoid the area if possible.

The increase to the travel warning was made one day after the Thai government announced it would impose a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces late on Tuesday.

The move is to help contain a protest movement that has blocked parts of the capital to try to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign.

The demonstrators want to overthrow Yingluck's government and derail Feb. 2 elections she called to try to take the steam out of the crisis.

The heightened alert also came after reports that a leading pro-government activist was wounded by gunfire earlier Wednesday in Thailand's northeast.

Meanwhile, MOFA urged Taiwanese nationals not to visit crowded areas in Bangkok and to avoid wearing yellow or red shirts.

Over the past few months, there have been scuffles between pro-government “Red Shirt” supporters and “Yellow Shirt” anti-government demonstrators.

In case of emergency, Taiwanese nationals in Thailand can call for help at the nation's representative office in Bangkok (081) 666-4006, 666-4008.

In response to MOFA's announcement, the Tourism Bureau said participants of tour groups going to neighboring areas in Bangkok will be eligible for a refund of the total amount paid minus a 5-percent administrative fee.

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