Stickers suspected to be part of an alleged terror plot by a group of Iranian nationals, with the word "SEJEAL" written on them, have been found pasted along a route running close to a leading Bangkok hotel, a police source said yesterday.
Police have not yet worked |out what “SEJEAL” means, but believe it could be a code used by the terror suspects.
A supply of the stickers was earlier found in a room in the house rented by Leila Rohani, a female suspect in the plot who has already returned to Iran, as well as also on a motorcycle purchased by other suspects, which was abandoned at the scene of two grenade attacks last week, near Soi Pridi Banomyong 31 in Bangkok.
The stickers, 40 of which were pasted at 27 locations on power poles, traffic signs and telephone booths, were yesterday found along a road running parallel to the Ploenchit-bound expressway section and leading to the JW Marriot Hotel, off Sukhumvit Soi 2. There were no details about how the hotel would link to the travel routes used frequently by Israeli diplomats, the likely targets of the prospective attacks in the view of local and international media, or how it might serve as a gathering place.
Meanwhile, police yesterday took Mohammad Khazaei, 42, who was arrested at Suvarnabhu-mi Airport on the day of the explosions on February 14, to re-enact his alleged crimes. They formally charged him with making bombs, possessing explosives without permission and causing explosions leading to injuries.
Assistant police chief Pol General Jaramphorn Suramanee said DNA tests showed that Khazaei’s DNA matched that found on clothing and a pair of shoes left in the rented house.
At a press conference, deputy police chief Pol General Pansiri Praphawat avoided questions from foreign media focusing on links between the alleged terror plot in Thailand and transnational terrorism. He answered questions relating mainly to police work, before cutting short the session.
Police have obtained an arrest warrant for a fifth suspect, an alleged bomb-maker identified as Norouzi Shaya Ali Akbar, 57, who entered Thailand on February 2 and left the country at 8.50am on the day of the blasts, which took place at 1pm.
Pansiri said police would seek Iran’s cooperation to send Ali Akbar, initially charged with possessing explosives without permission and causing explosions, back to Thailand.
Defence intelligence sources had earlier identified this fifth suspect as Nikkhahfard Javad.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, during an official one-day visit to Malaysia yesterday, said discussion over the possible handover to Thai police of Masoud Seda Ghatzadeh, another suspect now in Malaysian police custody, was not on the agenda, but could be brought up unofficially with Malaysian authorities and her counterpart, Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanathat said Thailand’s open tourism policy had made prevention of crime and terrorism difficult, but the now-intense security measures could ensure safety at some level. Bangkok-based police have been instructed to keep a close watch on tourist residences and attractions with foreign occupants and visitors in order to monitor the situation and minimise risks, but to do this in a discreet manner to prevent panic or spoil the atmosphere for tourism.