Foreign tourists on a street in Bangkok, Thailand. The Southeast Asian country will track tourists via phone cards. (Source: emirates247.com)

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand on August 9 announced an initiative to mandate foreigners to use phones with SIM cards that can be tracked by authorities in an effort to prevent acts of terrorism.

The new regulation does not only apply to tourists. All non-Thai nationals are required to use SIM cards approved by licensed mobile network operators, said Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

Phone users must also register to get access to Wi-Fi services, Takorn noted, adding that those who do not do so will not gain access to voice calls or Internet data, except for emergency calls to the police and hospitals.

The new measure was first proposed by NBTC in January 2015 and was approved by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. European countries, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore have adopted similar measures to safeguard national interests and security, he said.

Last year, all mobile phone users in the country had to register with their network providers giving personal details such as their full name, ID and phone number, etc.

A foreign intelligence agency warned Thai authorities of possible attacks by the so-called Islamic State (IS) late last year.-VNA