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in-focus

Malaysia on high alert for Uighur attacks


Surveillance tightened after reports that two suspects had exited Phuket.

MALAYSIAN authorities are on high alert following revelations from Thailand that two Uighurs of Turkish descent, suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in Thailand, are heading to their country.
Meanwhile, a leaked intelligence memo said two unidentified Chechens were planning to attack Russian interests in Thailand.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said police and other agencies at all entry and exit points to the country had been put on alert and surveillance had been beefed up.
“We are closely monitoring the situation,” he said on Saturday. He was responding to a news report that quoted Thailand’s Surat Thani Governor Wongsasiri Promchana as saying he had been informed of the men’s departure to Malaysia by the Phuket immigration office. 
“But this is just initial information from the immigration office which believes the names [of the Uighur men] are the same as in the [intelligence] memo,” he told Bernama.
Wongsasiri did not reveal the exact date the two Uighurs left Thailand for Malaysia and whether they used land or air routes. An intelligence source told Bernama the two could be headed to Malaysia en route to Turkey, Indonesia or Singapore.
The two Uighurs were identified as Ali Yalcin Egin and Hidayet Dorsun, who arrived in Phuket from an unidentified location on March 23.
They might stage attacks on Chinese targets and interests in Southeast Asia, said the leaked memo
In an immediate response on Saturday, Thailand’s police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda acknowledged that the leaked intelligence memo was authentic and the force had been working on the matter for the past week. The governor said on Wednesday he had 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 Koh Samui and Phuket. Both places are expected to be crowded in view of the four-day Songkran Festival that begins tomorrow. 
Paiboon O-mak, Samui district chief in Surat Thani province, confirmed the memo warned of the presence of the two Uighurs given the fact that the province is a tourist attraction for local and foreign visitors.

Published : April 10, 2016

By : THE STAR, THE NATION ASIA NEW