Deputy ational police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, in charge of security, said security authorities have not detected any IS-related activities in the country, nor have they found evidence that Thais are providing financial support to the group.
However, with information from Australian police officials, the Special Branch Police and the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) have been put on alert, he said.
He was referring to Australian information that some groups of Thais were providing financial support to the IS and that over 100,000 Facebook users from Thailand visited IS-related online communities over the past year.
On Tuesday (Nov 22), the deputy police chief said the information provided by Australian police officials matched with an investigation by Thai authorities into the activities of some groups of Thais linked to the radical Islamist group and that some Thais frequently travelled back and forth between Thailand and Syria.
Gen Srivara said yesterday (Nov 23) that Thai officials are investigating information about the Facebook users to determine if these people are Thai nationals or foreigners and if the IS group has connections with insurgent groups in the deep South. These users were sorted into six groups based on the information provided by Australian police officials, he added, but gave no additional details.
The deputy police chief said the CIB is working with the Immigration Bureau to verify the information about Thais who went to study in Syria while security agencies are keeping tabs of those who had returned.
However, Gen Srivara said that officials are not treating every Thai who has been to Syria or other Middle Eastern countries as a suspect.
He called on people not to panic over the information, saying it must be investigated and verified.
“Based on the intelligence of Thai security agencies, there are no IS-related activities or connections here. Australia gave us the information as part of cooperation in their investigation. It works like this worldwide, not just in Thailand.
“Australia has advanced equipment and when they’ve found something suspicious they come to us to help verify,” he said.
Gen Srivara said he had reported the issue to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who instructed concerned parties to follow proper procedures.
Deputy police spokesman Maj Gen Piyapan Pingmuang said the information from Australian police was raised during the annual meeting last Wednesday (Nov 16) between the police forces of the two countries.
However, the verification of the user names used to visit IS cyber communities is normal practice as there are many suspicious user names used in such communities. Officials have to verify their purpose and any potential links.
“Initially, there has been no evidence to prove that those Thais are linked to the IS [in terms of being members] and in addition some of those user names are old ones,” he said.
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