BANGKOK — Police on Tuesday extended warnings of car possible car bombs to the upper southern provinces one day after it emerged that armed militants were planning to strike at several targets in southwest metro Bangkok, including Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Police also released photos and details of the two vehicles reportedly being weaponized for such attacks. The operation is allegedly being plotted by the same insurgent group based in the far south who carried out a series of bomb and arson attacks across seven southern provinces in August, according to a police commander in the restive region.
“It’s the same team,” Maj. Gen. Ronnasilp Phusara, chief of the Southern Border Provinces Police Command, said by telephone.
The two vehicles were described as a Honda Accord and Mitsubishi Triton. The former was used to carry explosives for the August bomb attacks, Ronnasilp said.
“We’ve been trying to find it for a month now,” Ronnasilp said. “But in the end we didn’t find it. So the car won’t be used [as a transport] by the militants again. The next time it’s on the street, it will be a car bomb.”
The pick-up truck was recently stolen in the southern border region, the officer said.
Commando teams raided a suspected bomber’s hideout early Tuesday in eastern Bangkok, though the effort didn’t turn up any clues related to the alleged car bomb plots.
A leaked police memo obtained by the media Monday afternoon warned of possible bomb attacks at several landmarks in Bangkok’s southwestern suburb, including Bhumibol Bridge, Ancient Siam open-air museum and Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The warning on Tuesday morning was elevated to cover all upper southern provinces. Ronnasilp said police did so because of the militants’ history of staging attacks in the region during National Mother’s Day holidays in August, which killed four people.
He declined to disclose which group is believed to be planning the attacks.
“There are many movements [in the Deep South]. We cannot identify which group,” Ronnasilp said.
Separatist group BRN reportedly claimed responsibility for the August bombing campaign, though the authorities have maintained they found no evidence linking the attacks to the militant cell.