Thailand faces terror threat

Tourist spot: Tourists taking selfies on a street near Patong beach in Phuket. According to Thai intelligence, two potential Uighur terrorists had entered Thailand via Phuket last month. — Reuters

Bangkok: As Thailand gears up for its crowd-pulling Songkran festival next week, a leaked memo has warned that four Uighur and Chechen militants could be planning terrorist attacks on foreigners in the kingdom.

According to local news website Khaosod English, the warning originally came from Thailand’s intelligence information agency and was passed on by the governor of Surat Thani province to local police.

It warned that two Uighur men had entered Thailand via Phuket on March 23 and “may stage attacks on Chinese targets and interests in South-East Asia”, said Khaosod.

The two Chechens, meanwhile, were alle­gedly planning to attack Russians in Thailand.

The memo said attacks could also take place in the tourist hot spots of Phuket and Samui islands and urged police to step up security in crowded locations.

Thai police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said the warning was real, but called for calm.

Police were checking if the suspects – who entered Thailand via regular channels – were still in the country or had left.

“I have been proceeding with this matter in secret for a week now,” he was quoted by Khaosod as saying. “Right now, we still don’t know the intention of their entry into the country. We believe they aren’t here with good intentions.”

He assured reporters that Thai security agencies were doing their utmost to guard against attacks.

A rush-hour bomb in central Bangkok last August killed 20 people – mostly foreign tourists – and injured more than 100 people.

Two ethnic Uighurs from the restive Xinjiang region of China were arrested and are now on trial in a Thai military court for the attack. But the two men, Mieraili Yusufu and Bilal Mohammed, have denied their involvement.

A Reuters article in February revealed that the perpetrators of the attack had originally picked a pier that was used by Chinese tourists and that they had enough chemicals to make 10 similar bombs.

The Muslim ethnic minority Uighurs accuse Chinese authorities of persecuting them. While analysts believe the bombing was reta­liation for Thailand’s deportation of 109 Uighurs to China last July, Thai authorities have maintained it was not an act of terrorism.

They said instead it was carried out by human smuggling networks striking back against tightened policing.

Chechnya is a republic in the Russian fede­ration where insurgents have tried to break free from Moscow’s control.

Tourism is one of the few bright spots in Asean’s second-largest economy, which has been weighed down by the depressed global economy as well as slower-than-expected public investment in infrastructure.

Nearly 30 million foreigners visited the kingdom last year, and the government expects this to rise to 32 million this year. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

World , world


Next In Regional

‘This is my biggest regret’: Home-based baker in SG recounts losing Instagram account to scammer
Shangri-La hotels customer database hacked
UK urges North Korea to take steps towards "irreversible denuclearisation"
Telecommunication tower to be built in Danum Valley, says Comms Ministry sec-gen
Free insurance for six million Selangorians
Former bird's nest seller escapes the gallows for drug trafficking
Deport the 750,00 Filipinos in Sabah if claim is true, says Sabah Pakatan
No truth in kidnapping claims involving children, say JB police
Sarawak to set up tribunal to handle strata disputes, says Premier
Bursa ends flat with key index down on last trading day of 3Q

Others Also Read