Two Uighur terror suspects enroute to Malaysia

Filepix of two Uighur terror suspects of the Erawan shrine bombing in Bangkok last August arrive at a military court in Bangkok in February.

BANGKOK: Two Turks of Uighur descent, suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in Thailand, have reportedly left the Kingdom for Malaysia, according to a Thai official.

Surat Thani Governor, Wongsiri Promchana, who disclosed this information to Bernama on Saturday, said he was informed of the two men's recent departure for neighbouring Malaysia by Phuket's Immigration Office.

"We have exchanged information among the relevant agencies and the Phuket Immigration Office has informed me that they found the names of the two Uighurs in the immigration system, showing that they left the Kingdom for Malaysia.

"But this is just an initial information from the Immigration Office which believes the names (of the Uighur men) are the same name in the (intelligence) memo," he said in a telephone interview from Surat Thani today.

Wongsiri did not reveal the exact date the two Uighurs left Thailand for Malaysia and whether they used the land or air route to reach the neighbouring country.

An intelligence source told Bernama the two Uighur men could be headed to Malaysia en route to three possible destinations, Turkey, Indonesia or Singapore.

Yesterday, a local newspaper, 'Khaosod, leaked an intelligence memorandum from Wongsiri which claimed the two Uighurs and two Russians of Chechen descent were plotting terror attacks in Thailand.

The governor's leaked memorandum identified the two Uighurs as 'Ali Yalcin Egin' and 'Hidayet Dorsun' who arrived in Phuket from an unidentified location on March 23.

The duo "may stage attacks on Chinese targets and interests in Southeast Asia," said the leaked memo, while the two unidentified Chechens planned to attack Russian interests in Thailand.

In an immediate response yesterday, Thailand's police chief Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said the leaked intelligence memo was real and the force had been working on the information secretly for the past week.

In the telephone interview with Bernama, the governor said he received the sensitive intelligence dossier from the National Intelligence Coordination Centre Region 4 on the possible threat on April 5.

The intelligence memorandum, according to him, detailed a warning about possible terror attacks in the popular tourist destinations of Koh Samui and Phuket.

Both places are expected to be packed to the brim with foreign tourists, including from China and Russia as well as locals, during the four-day Songkran Festival which will officially begin on April 12.

Last December, Russia s intelligence agency warned its Thai counterpart that up to 10 Syrian members of the Daesh group of militants had entered the Kingdom to attack Russian interests.

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