Thailand receives Russian warning of Islamic State threat
Thai police have received a warning that 10 Syrians who may be linked to Islamic State (IS) could stage attacks on targets associated with Russia and its allies.
National police deputy spokesman Colonel Songpol Wattanachai confirmed the authenticity of a leaked police memo mentioning the intelligence warning from Russia's state security agency. He added that the information has not been verified.
The Thai capital was the target of a bombing in August that killed 20 people, which has been linked to militants from China's Muslim Uighur minority.
There have been few signs of IS activity in Thailand, though the group actively recruits volunteers from its Southeast Asian neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia - which are predominantly Muslim - to fight in Syria and Iraq.
The police memo, dated November 17 and marked "urgent" and "confidential", cites Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) warning that the 10 Syrians believed to be involved with IS entered Thailand in the second half of October. According to the memo, some of them went to Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket.
Pattaya and Phuket are seaside resorts popular with foreign tourists, and Pattaya is especially popular with Russians.
"The objectives of these people are to cause harm to Russia's assets or those of its allies in Thailand," said the memo.
The police memo called on security officials to confirm the information and step up security at possible targets related to countries opposed to IS, specifically the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Australia.
Police spokesman Col Songpol said that after October's deadly attacks in Paris, security had already been stepped up at venues in Bangkok such as embassies.
He said the information was the first Thailand had received suggesting that IS-linked Syrians had entered the country.