National police chief denies Lebanese terrorist suspect detained with explosives ingredient

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BANGKOK, Jan 14 – National police chief Pol Gen Prewpan Dhamapong on Saturday denied that Atris Hussein, a 48 year-old Lebanese man with suspected links to a militant group in Lebanon, was detained with urea fertiliser as an explosives ingredient.

The man was apprehended for questioning on Friday at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport under the immigration law, which allows for a 60-day detention, while he was leaving Thailand on the same day as the US embassy in Bangkok issued a terrorist threat warning for the capital.

After questioning, Gen Prewpan said Mr Hussein, a Lebanese with a Swedish passport, will be deported back to his country without being charged, as he had not yet committed any wrongdoing.

The national police chief said an act of terrorism had been planned for Bangkok, according to the suspect, but the plan was aborted after Mr Hussein was detained.

Gen Prewpan asked the public to rest assured that security measures of secret service agents, the army, and police are keeping a close eye on the situation, particularly at the capital’s terror watch zones on Khao San Rd, Rambutri Rd, and Sukhumvit 22, including other areas where foreigners gather.

Regarding the man in the sketch, he is about 180 cm tall and around 30-40 years old. Mr Hussein claimed he was not aware if the man had left the country or remained at large. Officials will investigate the matter further, the national police chief noted.

Both men are allegedly from Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim militant group in Lebanon backed mainly by Iran and Syria.

On Friday and Saturday, the embassies of the United States, Canada, and Australia publicly issued a terrorist threat warning for Thailand.