Southern Islamic school’s assets seized


BANGKOK, Sept 4 – The Thai government’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) has seized the assets of an Islamic religious (pondok) school in Narathiwat province in connection with the insurgency in Thailand’s far South and for allegedly using the school as a centre for making bombs and sheltering insurgents.

AMLO secretary general Pol Col Sihanart Prayoonrat said the confiscated assets, worth more than three million baht, included the plot of land where the Islam Burapa school is located. He said the school has received financial support from several foundations in the Middle East.

A preliminary investigation has contributed to a suspected connection between the school and the Taleban Islamic militant movement, he said, adding that bombs have been made in the school compound.

AMLO is investigating two other Muslim schools in the South suspected of receiving overseas financial support to help the southern insurgents, Pol Col Sihanart said.

In August, he said, AMLO ordered the seizure of assets in three other cases and pressed an initial money laundering charge against the suspects after the authorities found assets worth over Bt16 million, including gold ornaments, Thai and Malaysian banknotes, in the possession of Suriyan Pongmanavuth and his colleagues.

In the second case, Saengthit Katisomskul and his associates had 35 items, worth more than one million baht, impounded while a third case involved a woman suspect, Pranom Praekoksoong, and others whose assets were seized and who were charged with drug trafficking, sex slavery and human trafficking.

He said locations—whether houses, schools, rubber plantations or hotels—which provide shelter, food, arms and ammunition to terrorists will be seriously dealt with in accord with the laws and their assets will be seized under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.