BREAKING NEWS: Regions on full alert after deadly Jakarta attack

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Breaking News 15-1

In response to the deadly terrorist attack that struck #Jakarta on Thursday, local police and military institutions in the country’s major cities have stepped up security precautions at various high-profile locations including consulates, malls and five-star hotels, in order to prevent similar such incidents from occurring elsewhere in Indonesia.

In Denpasar, Bali, police and military personnel intensified patrols in popular tourist districts such as Kuta, Seminyak and Nusa Dua, soon after the attack happened in Jakarta. Dozens of armed police were also seen securing the Australian consulate-general on Jl. Tantular, Denpasar, and the US consulate-general on Jl. Hayam Wuruk.

Bali Police are also tightly monitoring the main entrances to the popular resort island.

Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Sugeng Priyanto emphasized that Bali was still safe and that there were not yet any intelligence reports of a possible terrorist attack targeting the island.

“As of now, [Bali] is still safe. But we have to remain alert,” Sugeng said.

In October 2002, a series of coordinated attacks in Kuta orchestrated by the regional terrorist network Jamaah Islamiyah led to the death of more than 200 people, including 88 Australians.

Three years later, another series of bomb attacks hit the island, killing at least 20 people and injuring 100 others.

In Medan, North Sumatra, foreign consulate offices, such as the US and Chinese consulate offices, and a number of shopping malls and hotels in the city also received heightened security measures.

Security personnel, for example, were seen combing through the JW Marriot hotel on Jl. S. Parman, Medan.

North Sumatra Police’s vital object security directorate head Sr. Comr. Heri Subiansauri said the combing procedure, aimed at searching for suspicious objects, was not only carried out at the hotel but also at other vital objects in the city.

“We conducted the combings in response to the bomb attack in Jakarta. We have also posted personnel at vital points across the city. We have expanded security at several places,” Heri said.

The Medan Police’s headquarters and police posts on the streets of Medan also received expanded security from fully-armed police personnel.

Medan Police chief Sr. Comr. Mardiaz Kusin Dwihananto said the police had deployed personnel to secure vital facilities prone to disturbances.

Security in Bandung, West Java, and Pekanbaru, Riau, has also been intensified.

Pekanbaru Police chief Sr. Comr. Aries Syarief Hidayat said fully-geared two-wheeled patrol teams had been deployed to various corners of the city. Every entrance to the city was also tightly guarded to prevent intruders.

“Police have continued to coordinate with the Indonesian Military [TNI] to prevent terror attacks. Intelligence officers have also been spread to gather as much information as possible from the public,” he said.

The Roesmin Nurjadin Airbase in Pekanbaru also tightened security by closing access from Jl. Inpres and from the direction of the Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport II International in Pekanbaru.

West Java Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Sulistyo Hartono said the police had also placed personnel on standby to secure every vital object situated across the province.

“We’re on high alert,” Pudjo said.

Separately, the Central Sulawesi Police declined to comment on the possible involvement of the Poso-based terrorist group led by Santoso in the deadly attack on Jakarta.

The group, which has become the most-feared group in the region after orchestrating the murder of a number of local residents, is believed to be affiliated with the radical Islamic State (IS) movement.

“I only take care of Poso. I don’t want to comment on the attack in Jakarta. Please ask the National Police,” Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Idham Azis told the Post by phone.

Ni Komang Erviani, Apriadi Gunawan and Ruslan Sangadji
The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network
January 15, 2016 10:07 am

Source: The Nation


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Thai Police: Adem Karadag planted bomb

Mr Karadag is brought to the Min Buri court

Police on Saturday said a foreigner held in custody over last month’s deadly Bangkok attack was the same yellow-shirted man seen on CCTV placing a rucksack at the shrine moments before the blast.

Authorities have earlier said it was unlikely that either of the two men detained over the Aug 17 blast, which left 20 dead, were the bomber in what has been an often confusing and contradictory police investigation.

On Saturday, national police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said the probe now revealed the first arrested suspect, a man police identified as Adem Karadag whose nationality remains unconfirmed, was the bomber.

“It is confirmed that Adem is the man in the yellow shirt based on CCTV footage, eyewitness accounts and his own confession,” Pol Lt Gen Prawut said.

“After he placed the bomb at the shrine he called a motorbike taxi and changed his shirt at a restroom in (nearby) Lumpini Park.”

Mr Karadag’s lawyer — who says his client’s real name is Bilal Mohammed — could not immediately be reached for comment but earlier this week had cast doubt on rumours of his confession to the crime and has said his client was not in the country at the time of the attack.

The suspect now faces up to eight charges including premeditated murder, Pol Lt Gen Prawut said.

Mr Karadag is due to undergo a reenactment of his alleged role in the crime — a standard Thai police procedure — starting at the shrine from 11am.

The unprecedented attack in the heart of Bangkok’s bustling downtown district last month stunned the nation and dealt a fresh blow to Thailand’s reputation as a tourist haven.

Earlier report: Military court approves 17 warrants for city bombings

The majority of the blast’s fatalities were Chinese visitors, who believe prayers at the shrine bring good fortune. More than 100 other people were left injured.

The motive for the bombing remains unclear but this month Thailand’s police chief linked the attack to China’s Uighur minority for the first time, after weeks of speculation over their role.

Somyot Poompanmoung blamed the blast on a gang of people-smugglers motivated by revenge for a crackdown on their lucrative trade including the transfer of Uighurs.

That motive has been widely dismissed by security experts who instead have pointed to Thailand’s forced deportation of 109 Uighurs to China in July, a move that ignited anger in Turkey where nationalist hardliners see the minority as part of a global Turkic-speaking family.

Mostly Muslim Uighurs have long accused Beijing of religious and cultural repression in China’s far western Xinjiang region, with hundreds of refugees believed to have fled in recent years, often heading to Turkey via Southeast Asia.

Police arrested Mr Karadag in a flat on the outskirts of Bangkok late last month saying he was in possession of bomb-making equipment and dozens of fake Turkish passports.

The other man is custody has been identified as Yusufu Mieraili, who was seized with a Chinese passport that police believe is real. It notes Xinjiang as his birthplace.

Mr Karadag’s lawyer Chuchart Kanphai has previously said his client was born in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, but moved to Turkey in 2004 where he received Turkish nationality and found work as a truck driver with his brother.

He entered Thailand on Aug 21, four days after the bomb blast, with the aim of finding work in Malaysia, the lawyer has said.

Source: BangkokPost

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Three women detained over possible link to #Bangkok Sathorn bomber

3 woman

A combined force yesterday searched a female-only apartment complex in Bangkok’s Din Daeng area and detained three women for questioning.

The operation was part of an investigation into the suspect behind the Sathorn pier bomb. The suspect, who wore a blue shirt, was caught on CCTV carrying a bag and leaving it on Taksin Bridge before kicking it into a canal on August 17. It exploded the following afternoon without causing any casualties.

In yesterday’s joint operation, luggage and a computer were seized and fingerprints and DNA evidence collected to check for links to the Erawan Shrine and Sathorn bombings.

An informed source said that two female students rented the room before the mother of one of the students arranged for a middle-aged woman to stay with them two months ago.

The source said that a police probe found that three men, who were believed to have fled the country, had left items at the apartment.

An initial search of the apartment did not uncover any bomb components or substances used in bombs, the source added.

Sriwara said the search stemmed from information that an individual involved in the bombings had left personal items at the apartment a few days ago.

The authorities wanted to get details on that individual and possibly come up with a sketch of the person after speaking with the three women, he said.

She arranged a taxi

“We cannot confirm if the person that left the items was among those wanted in this case. We can just say it wasn’t Wanna Suansan,” he said, in reference to the Thai woman wanted in connection with the case.

Another informed source said that initial inquiries found that the mother’s friend who resided at the apartment might be linked to the man in a blue shirt who carried the Sathorn Pier bomb. It is thought she may have arranged a taxi to get him to the pier.

She is also believed to be the person who collected personal items of another suspect in the case at an apartment located between Soi On Nut 44 and 46 police searched on Saturday night.

Source: The Nation

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The Hunt is on

Police put the alleged bomb courier in a yellow T-shirt for re-enactment near the Erawan shrine, but the focus is on Interpol to find the mastermind.

Police seek blast mastermind
Interpol help sought in overseas bolt hole

Police are seeking help from Interpol to hunt the suspected Erawan shrine and Sathorn pier bombings mastermind who they believe has fled to Bangladesh.

Deputy national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda, who leads the investigation into the bombings, Wednesday said Abudureheman Abudusataer, known as Ishan, is believed to be the head of the network which caused the deadly bomb blast at the shrine on Aug 17, based on the accounts of the detained suspects.

Interpol will be asked to contact Bangladeshi authorities following reports that Ishan had fled to the country, he said.

An investigation is underway to look into money wired from overseas to determine whether it was used to sponsor the attack, he said.

Pol Gen Chakthip said he is confident police will be able to arrest the yellow-shirted man, who was seen in CCTV footage planting the bomb-laden backpack at the shrine, based on evidence he gathered.

Hunt 2

Meanwhile, a source said investigations found Mr Ishan had sent an audio clip via Facebook to other suspects containing the screaming voice of a woman whom he claimed was a Uighur and was being deported from Thailand to China.

He met four other key suspects in Thailand. They are Yusufu Mieraili; Bilal Mohammed, also known as Adem Karadag; a man wearing a blue shirt who dropped a bomb into the river at Sathon pier, and the man in a yellow shirt who is believed to be the Erawan shrine bomber.

There is still another suspect living overseas who sponsored the attack, the source said, adding the person booked air tickets en route to Turkey for the suspects. Money was wired to the bank accounts of some suspects, the source said.

Investigators said earlier Mr Mieraili said Mr Ishan had arranged meetings of the bombing cell and assigned them their tasks.

Police sources said the warrant for the arrest of Mr Ishan was issued on Tuesday but police later decided to rescind it as more investigation was needed to ensure stronger evidence.

National police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said information about Mr Ishan has been shared with Interpol to help check his records.

According to the spokesman, the bomb used in the attack was unusual and seldom seen elsewhere.

However, some bomb-making materials, including fuses, can be acquired in Thailand.

The National Council for Peace and Order called on fertiliser and chemical substance shops to install CCTV.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut insisted more than 10 people were involved in the bombing network.

READ MORE: The BangkokPost 

Hunt 3

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Were the Grey Wolves behind #Bangkok bombing?

Bomber 2-9
Adem Karadag’ has been arrested in connection to the Bangkok bombing. But is he a member of the Grey Wolves? Photo: Royal Thai Police.

On 8 July 2015, the deportation of 109 Uighur refugees back to China by Thai authorities shifted mob attacks against Asian tourists in Turkey to protests at the Consulate General of Thailand in Istanbul and the Thai Embassy in Ankara.

After stoning the consulate, smashing the windows and wrenching the doors open, the mob poured consular documents and files onto the street.

Roughly two months later, on 28 August a man identified as Adem Karadag, with a fake Turkish passport, was arrested by Thai police in Nong Chok district of Bangkok, as a possible key suspect in the 17 August bombing at the Erawan shrine.

He was found with dozens of fake Turkish passports and explosives similar to the ones used in what is now Thailand’s most deadly peacetime attack.

The recent anti-Thai and anti-Chinese protests by the Grey Wolves and the arrest of an alleged Turkish citizen by Thai police has sparked arguments putting the group at the forefront of those possibly behind the deadly bombing that killed 20 and left more than one hundred injured.

For example Susan Cunningham’s piece in Forbes outlines long-time security analyst Anthony Davis’ argument for the strong probability of the Grey Wolves’ involvement in the Bangkok bombings. Lindsay Murdoch of Australia’s Fairfax media has also outlined the Grey Wolves past activities, including military operations in post-Soviet states with Turkic people. But before the blame is laid squarely at their feet, a few key points need to be considered.

First, the Grey Wolves, a group also known as the Idealist Hearts, was founded in February 1968 to break the hegemony of socialist groups in Turkish universities throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Formed by the leader of the Nationalist Action Party, Alparslan Turkes, the group’s raison d’etre was anti-communism.

The Nationalist Action Party has since then held firm de facto control of the Idealist Hearts, although the organisation is not a formal sub-branch of the party. Hearts members came to be known as the Grey Wolves because of their logo, which was originally derived from a Turkic myth.

The organisation soon spread all over Turkey, and until the 1980s, a fierce anti-left stance was combined with Pan-Turkic myths, racism and some Islamic discourses under a typical fascistic leadership cult and strict hierarchy.

During the late 1970s many Grey Wolves sympathisers were recruited for counter-guerrilla operations and used as hoods in the paramilitary actions of the Turkish “deep state” (a group of anti-democratic coalitions with strong influence in Turkish politics) against rising left wing activism in the country.

During this era, members of the group were also involved in several assassinations of left wing intellectuals and a few massacres against Turkey’s Alevite population who were the main base of the far left during that decade.

In the decade following the 1980 Turkish military coup, the suppression of the Turkish left by the military, the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the consequent eradication of “the traditional other” of the Grey Wolves left the group in an ideological vacuum.

With this identity crisis a few sympathisers of the group became largely affiliated with the Turkish Mafia. Several members of the Hearts established connections with international crime, with some becoming hit men for international terrorist groups.

One frequenter of the Grey Wolves, Mehmet Ali Agca, who was convicted of assassinating a prominent left-wing Turkish journalist, was later caught at St Peter’s Square after attempting to assassinate Pope Jean Paul in May 1981.

In the 2000s the organisation turned into a nation-wide club where attendees were exposed to a blend of pan-Turkic, Islamist and anti-Kurdish racist ideas. Today the appeal of this ideological mixture is mostly attractive for Turkey’s least educated youth, and they gather in protests from time to time for pan-Turkic causes.

Despite the Grey Wolves possibly providing a large pool of followers to be used in petty crime, minor mafia activities and even human trafficking, I highly doubt their capacity and preparedness to conduct a bombing such as that at Bangkok’s Erawan shrine.

Simply put, the group has never participated in such a transnational mass bombing.

The person charged in Bangkok may be a sympathiser or a regular member/visitor of branches of this organisation in Turkey. He may also be a supporter of the pan-Turkic ideology of the Grey Wolves. Furthermore, the Grey Wolves might have been so agitated in their nationalist feelings for the Uighur cause to develop strong anti-Thai and anti-Chinese responses.

However, as an organisation the Idealist Hearts, or Grey Wolves, under strict control of the leadership of Turkey’s Nationalist Action Party, is unlikely to be the group behind the Bangkok bombings.

Dr M. Murat Yurtbilir is an associate lecturer in Turkish studies at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, The Australian National University. His research focuses on Turkish politics, history and foreign policy, and international politics in Central Asia.

Source: NewMandala

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Erawan Shrine bomb suspect arrested: PM


Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced yesterday that the key suspect for the August 17 Erawan Shrine bombing has been arrested.

Prayut said the suspect was arrested in Sa Kaew province, adding that he was not Thai and that police are checking the man’s nationality. He said the Turkish embassy has been informed of the arrest and that the suspect has been brought to Bangkok for questioning.

Nation TV reported that the suspect resembled the man in a yellow T-shirt, who was captured on CCTV leaving a backpack under a bench in the shrine compound. The backpack exploded minutes later, killing 20 people and injuring hundreds of others.

Police spotted the suspect when he was trying to sneak across the border into Cambodia from Aranyaprathet, Burapha Taskforce chief Maj-General Srisak Poonprasit said. The suspect had a black backpack, in which he was found to be carrying clothes similar to the ones the suspected bomber was seen wearing on the day of the attack.

Erawan Shrine 25-8
Source: The Nation

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Thai woman sought for #Bangkok Bomb Attacks

Bomb 31a
Police believe a Thai woman kept a second safe house for the bombers to assemble explosives from these and other materials – as interrogators slowly wring information from the arrested foreigner (inset) whose identity is still unknown. Clockwise from top left: Explosive detonators, pipes that could pack bombs, far too many (probably fake) Turkey passports, and thousands of 5mm ball bearings, the size used in the Ratchaprasong explosion – four reasons the unidentified bombing suspect (inset) was taken into custody on Saturday.

Bomb 31b

Authorities are hunting for a Thai woman after materials believed to be used for bomb-making were seized from her room at an apartment in Min Buri district.

She was believed to know the perpetrators thought to be behind the Erawan shrine and Sathon pier bombings, according to police sources. The group was thought to be planning more attacks.

The woman is identified as “Misaloh”, and rented room No.9106 at Maimuna Garden Home, an apartment in Bangkok’s Min Buri district.

Interviewing the neighbourhood: Suspects ‘kept to themselves’
Tracing the phones: Biggest data search ever

On Saturday night, a combined police and military force searched the room and confiscated several items which can be used to make bombs.

Found in the room include urea-based fertiliser, six 12x7cm bottles of flash powder, black and blue electrical wiring, four wristwatches, a table clock, a pack of bolts, decorative tree lights, an empty box for a walkie-talkie, a radio-controlled toy vehicle and a rucksack containing books. Police seized the items for examination.

The search was based on information gleaned from the foreigner suspect detained on Saturday in a raid at the Pool Anant apartment in Nong Chok district, where authorities seized bulk supplies of materials for making bombs, sources said.

The suspect is now being detained at the 11th Army Circle in Bangkok.

Following the Saturday night search, a team of 40 police and military officers went back Sunday to Maimuna Garden Home and searched the entire apartment again.

A welding tool was found in one room and seized for examination.

Deputy national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said police were deployed to five areas to track down more suspects. He declined to disclose the locations.

Police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said Sunday a network of foreign nationals is thought to be behind the Erawan shrine blast.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut said significant quantities of bomb-making materials including detonator cords and fuses seized from the suspect’s room during Saturday’s raid point to the possibility the suspect and his accomplices had several more targets in mind.

“There were large quantities of bomb-making materials including 10 detonator cords,” said Pol Lt Gen Prawut, also assistant police chief.

The evidence has been sent for forensic examination and the findings will confirm if they are linked to the Erawan shrine and Sathon pier explosions, he said.

The police spokesman said the detained suspect, who cannot speak Thai, has so far denied any involvement in the Erawan shrine bombing, he said, adding authorities cannot confirm his identity or nationality.

“He gave a certain amount of cooperation, saying where he travelled from. But we don’t believe everything he said. So far he has made no confession,” he said.

Investigators are not ruling out any motives at this stage and it is too early to conclude what role the suspect played in the attacks.

It is believed many other people, some of whom are likely to be Thai nationals, are involved, said Pol Lt Gen Prawut. He did not give a number.

One of the possible motives is the blasts were an act of personal revenge after police recently cracked down on foreign criminals including those running fake passport syndicates.

It is possible the suspect is involved in a syndicate that makes counterfeit passports for nationals who entered Thailand on the quiet and wanted to travel to a third country, he said. More than 200 fake passports were seized from the suspect’s room, which lends weight to this theory, he said.

Police investigators have confirmed the two attacks are linked based on the type of the explosive devices used.

Pier 31
Geography of the attacks: According to current reports, the bombers and helpers rented rooms at two apartment houses in Min Buri and Nong Chok districts in Northeast Bangkok, and travelled to the two sites where they set their deadly explosives. (Map by Google Maps)

The Erawan shrine blast on Aug 17 killed 20 people and injured 130 more while the other bomb which exploded in the water near the Sathon pier the following day caused no injuries.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut said other pieces of evidence such as records of phone calls are also being examined. There are photos of possible accomplices in the suspect’s phone that police are trying to verify.

Police are also questioning the cab driver who drove the yellow-shirt suspected bomber to Hua Lamphong station after he was found to have been contacted by the phone numbers which are thought to belong to the suspects.

The cab driver might have hidden some information from police but so far he has not been charged or detained, he said. He said it cannot be confirmed if the arrested man is one of the two suspects facing arrest warrants.

Besides the yellow-shirt man, an arrest warrant was issued for a man seen dropping a plastic bag with an explosive device near Sathon pier on Aug 17.

“He is one of the network definitely. Give police some time. There are several leads to follow and jobs to be done,” he said.

A source in the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said police and military officers are jointly questioning the arrested suspect and authorities are not ruling out any possibilities including human trafficking.

Source: BangkokPost

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