CHIANGRAI TIMES – Security is being beefed up at the country’s six international airports which could become possible new targets for acts of sabotage following a terror warning by Israel, national police chief Priewpan Damapong says.
Pol Gen Priewpan yesterday told the Transport Ministry to place the international airports, under the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), on high alert as Israel has warned terrorists may be targeting them.
A government source said Israel had advised police directly to boost security at airports, based on intelligence reports it had received.
AoT chairman ACM Sumet Phomanee raised the security alert at the six airports from level 2, the normal level, to level 3. The airports are Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai and Phuket.
Pol Gen Priewpan denied reports terrorists were targeting the Israeli defense minister who was scheduled to change planes in Thailand on Wednesday but later cancelled the plan following the bombings on Tuesday.
The warning also prompted the government to beef up security for other modes of public transport.
Ronnachit Yaemsa-ard, acting governor of the Mass Rapid Authority of Thailand, said he had instructed Bangkok Metro Co, the operator of the MRT, to step up security at subway stations.
Anat Arbhabhirama, an adviser to the executive committee of Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, which runs the BTS sky train, gave an assurance that security at the BTS is always high.
State Railway of Thailand governor Yutthana Thapcharoen said security has been boosted at all railway stations, particularly in the lower South.
Pol Col Monthon Ngernwattana, acting chief of the Royal Thai Police’s foreign affairs division, said the Attorney-General will seek the extradition to Thailand of Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh, an Iranian suspect who was arrested by Malaysian authorities in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday after fleeing Bangkok.
Mr Zadeh had entered Malaysia on Tuesday and had been attempting to fly to Iran when he was detained, the Malaysian government said.
The arrest on Wednesday of Mr Zadeh at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport showed Malaysia was “very serious and committed” to addressing the threat of terrorism, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.
Pol Col Monthon said the division had submitted evidence and an arrest warrant for the suspect to the Office of the Attorney-General, which it will forward to the Foreign Ministry.
The ministry will contact Malaysia’s foreign ministry to extradite the suspect.
Pol Col Monthon said even though Thailand and Malaysia do not have a formal extradition treaty, Thailand will use an extradition treaty it signed with Britain, Malaysia’s former colonial ruler.
Deputy national police chief Pansiri Prapawat said the Bangkok South Criminal Court had approved arrest warrants for all three Iranian suspects being held in custody, as well as an Iranian woman, Rohani Leila, who is suspected of having arranged for the rental of the Sukhumvit Soi 71 home.
Two suspects with Iranian passports were detained after the explosions on Sukhumvit Soi 71 on Tuesday.
Saeid Moradi, 28, was injured in the bombings and is being treated at Chulalongkorn Hospital. Mohummad Khazaei, 42, was detained at Suvarnabhumi airport late on Tuesday as he was about to board a plane to Malaysia. Mr Zadeh was arrested in Malaysia.
Pol Gen Pansiri said Mr Moradi has been charged with attempted murder and having explosives in his possession and the other three suspects have been charged with being in possession of explosives. A fifth suspect had also been identified. A warrant would be sought for the suspect, a Middle Eastern man.
Bomb disposal experts yesterday searched a hotel room at Nasa Vegas Hotel on Ramkhamhaeng Road, where Ms Leila checked in. They found no explosives.