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Thailand to Change Visa Laws after Bomb Attack



Immigration authorities were in the process of relaxing visa regulations to allow travellers from Middle Eastern countries to get their visas on arrival to promote tourism, but are now reconsidering


CHIANGRAI TIMES – Thailand is to tighten lax hotel regulations and review visa procedures following the failed bomb plot targeting Israeli diplomats by a group of Iranians.

Hotels in the notorious beach resort city of Pattaya, where three of the bombers spent five days cavorting with prostitutes, are to be forced to adhere to rules informing police of the identities of guests within 24 hours of arrival.

A forensic expert collects fingerprints from a motorcycle that was left unattended in Sukhumvit Soi 71. PHOTO: KOSOL NACHACHOL

The stepping up of security comes after police discovered a motorcycle bought by one of the bombers near their rented house, adding weight to the belief the men intended to use it to attach “sticky” bombs to Israeli diplomats’ cars as they sat in traffic.

The motorcycle had a sticker with the word “sejeal” taped under the saddle, possibly a reference from the Koran to “sejeal stones”.

Palestinians sometimes call their missiles and mortars used to attack Israel as “sejeal stones”.

Police also secured an arrest warrant for a fifth man thought to be part of the bombers’ team, though officers were uncertain if he was the man they have identified as Nikkhahfard Javad or another man.

The group’s plot to attack Israeli diplomats in Bangkok by attaching bombs to their cars – identical to the method used in New Delhi and foiled in Tibilisi on Monday – unravelled when on Tuesday one of their devices accidentally exploded in their Bangkok house rented a month earlier.

Fleeing, Saeid Moradi, 28, threw two grenades at pursuing police, the second of which severed his legs. Mohammad Khazaei, 42, escaped but was detained at Bangkok’s international airport.

A third man Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh, 31, made it as far as Malaysia but was detained as he tried to board a flight to Tehran. It was he who had bought the motorcycle from a Bangkok dealer for £540.

It was found after it had been lying untended in the street for five days.

Police now say that Khazaei travelled to Thailand first on 15 December last year and left on January 7, returning on February 8 to Phuket and immediately flying to Bangkok airport. He then travelled Pattaya and met Sadaghat Zadeh and Moradi, where they found three prostitutes to escort them for their five-day stay.

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