The memo, issued by Surat Thani’s governor to local police, identified two Turkish men by name as Uighurs and two Russians as Chechens in a threat warning originally issued by the National Intelligence Coordinating Centre.
According to the memo, two Uighur men who go by the names Ali Yalcin Egin and Hidayet Dorsun entered Thailand via Phuket on March 23. They are travelling on Turkish passports, and the memo identified the men’s passport numbers.
The pair “may stage attacks on Chinese targets and interests in Southeast Asia,” the memo said.
The two unidentified Chechens, the memo added, are plotting to attack Russian targets and interests in Thailand.
“The memo concluded by saying that the potential attacks may take place either on Phuket or Samui, so I urge local police to step up security measures around crowded places and transportation hubs,” Immigration Commissioner Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn yesterday (Apr 8).
National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda yesterday also confirmed the warning was real, reported Thai news website Khaosod English. (See story here.)
“We have checked possible matches for these people specifically in Phuket and Samui. We have followed up and found people with similar names, but so far we have found no evidence to support that these suspects are in Phuket or on Samui,” Gen Nathathorn said.
“Regardless, local officials are to ramp up security in all areas, not just at immigration checkpoints,” he added. “My visit to Phuket today is to inform local police that they must take these types of warnings seriously. Warnings like this should not be dismissed just because suspects like this have not been found here before.
“Immigration Police is to thoroughly inspect people as they arrive on the island, especially during Songkran (April 13-15), because terrorist groups often blend in with crowds,” Gen Nathathorn cautioned.
“Immigration Police across the country have been ordered to be on alert for such suspicious groups,” he said.