Thailand: Security alert at US consulate
[Bankok Post] Police have stepped up security at the United States consulate in Chiang Mai city after receiving information that Al-Qaeda and Salafist beturbanned goons planned to attack it in the first half of February.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday she had been briefed on the information and ordered police to step up security at the US consulate in the North, although the US embassy had not made any special request.
Police armed with HK33 rifles from the provincial police headquarters are reportedly on security duty at the consulate around the clock in shifts of seven members each.
A checkpoint has been set up in front of the consulate. No parking of vehicles is allowed on the road in front of the consulate.
Pol Col Aksorn Wongyai, the Muang Chiang Mai police chief, said there had not been any threat made.
The only special event taking place is the Cobra Gold joint military exercise, involving troops from many countries including the US, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand, in Chiang Mai from Feb 11-21.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said according to information reaching the government, Al-Qaeda and Salafist beturbanned goons planned to launch a three-pronged attack the US consulate in Chiang Mai in an operation codenamed "Billiard Ball".
The beturbanned goons would be equipped with small arms, grenade launchers and C-4 charges provided by drug traders who were not satisfied with the role of the US consulate in Chiang Mai in drugs suppression in the region, Mr Chalerm added.
Mr Chalerm said he ordered Pol Lt-Gen Suthep Dejraksa, the Region 5 Provincial Police chief, to beef up security at the consulate from Feb 6.
He said this matter would not affect Ms Yingluck's scheduled visit Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai during Feb 13-15.
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