Arrest warrant sought against second terror suspect

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BANGKOK, Jan 19 – Thai police are now seeking court approval for an arrest warrant against another suspect believed to be involved in a possible terror plot and to be linked to a militant group in Lebanon, national police chief Pol Gen Prewpan Dhamapong said on Thursday.

The police’s sketch of the suspect was drawn based on the account given to police by Atris Hussein, a Lebanese-born man holding a Swedish passport and a terror suspect now being detained for illegally possessing explosive materials in a rented building, Gen Prewpan said.

The owner of the building also confirmed the description of the new suspect, the police chief noetd, but he declined to give details about the suspect for fear that it might affect the case.

Thai police have asked Interpol to help track down the suspect as it is still not known if the man has left the country or not, he said.

Gen Prewpan also revealed that the investigation found that Hezbollah, a militant group in Lebanon, rented ten containers preparing to export explosive chemicals to another country.

After the arrest of Mr Hussein last Friday, Thai police on Monday searched a warehouse in Samut Sakhon province, west of Bangkok, and seized urea fertiliser and liquid ammonium nitrate, linked to the suspect.

Atris Hussein has been further detained for illegally possessing explosive materials for 12 days under the criminal court order at Bangkok Remand Prison from Jan 17-28 pending questioning of about 30 witnesses.

In the aftermath of last week’s terror threat alert issued by the US embassy in Bangkok, followed by the warnings from 18 countries in Asia and Europe, Thai Deputy Prime Minister/Tourism Minister Chumphon Silpa-archa admitted on Thursday that the US warning had slightly affected the country’s tourism industry and tourist confidence.

Mr Chumphon said some tourists opted to change their planned trip in Bangkok to destinations in the North and the South instead after the US embassy stood by its warning despite the arrest of one terror suspect.

The minister added he will visit tourist-packed areas including Khao San Road this evening to boost confidence among foreign visitors.

Deputy government spokesman Watchara Kannikar meanwhile said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra assigned concerned agencies to set up a committee to compile information and assess the situation for the tourism minister and a joint committee of the state and public sectors on tourism to determine how to handle with it if the terror alert continues.