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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Terror warning on travel to Thailand
Australian investigators collect data at the site of the Kuta bombing
The warning follows the horrific bombing in Bali
Australia and several European countries are warning of the dangers of travelling to the resort island of Phuket in southern Thailand.


We know from the Bali experience you just can't be too cautious and we've had some information in relation to Phuket

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer
The advisories follow the devastating bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali nearly two weeks ago which killed more than 190 people.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry in Denmark, which holds the presidency of the European Union, confirmed that a specific warning regarding Phuket was in place but would not detail what had sparked it.

"I can only say we have very good reasons for doing so," he told BBC News Online, adding: "It is not simply a reaction to the Bali bombing."

Patong beach warning

The ministry said visitors should exercise vigilance at tourist sites and should consider not entering them if there is insufficient security presence.

The spokesman said that Australia, Sweden, Norway and Germany had also issued warnings regarding Phuket.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said travellers should be extremely cautious and avoid visiting restaurants and bars where Westerners are known to congregate.

"We know from the Bali experience you just can't be too cautious and we've had some information in relation to Phuket," Mr Downer said.

A spokeswoman at the UK Foreign Office said it had revised its advice on travel to South-East Asia a week ago, which included advising caution in public place in Thailand and such advice was constantly under review.

The Danish foreign ministry highlighted Patong beach in Phuket as of particular concern.

The deputy Thai police chief, General Thawatchai Phailee, said he had ordered immigration police to investigate the warning.

"There was no detection of any (terrorist) movement there, but we will still not be careless," he told French news agency AFP, adding that police had prepared emergency plans in case of an attack on the island.

But a senior officer told the agency that any attack would be likely to take place in the south of the island, and listed the largest city in the south, Hat Yai, and Phuket as places needing specific monitoring.

"There are three terrorist groups actively operating in the four southernmost provinces. These groups have 200 to 300 numbers each."

Bali probe

In Bali, the investigation into the bombing is continuing, with police saying three suspected militants they had sketches of might include those who carried out the attack, and that they were re-interrogating 10 Pakistanis questioned on the island before the explosions.

Police in Indonesia are also waiting to question the Islamic cleric believed to be the leader of Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir.

Mr Ba'asyir is currently in hospital, where doctors say he is too ill to be questioned.

Indonesia has not named JI as suspects in the Bali bomb, but it has linked the group with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, which is blamed for last September's attacks in the US.

Indonesia has reportedly asked the UN to designate JI as a terrorist group.


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24 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
23 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
20 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Oct 02 | Politics
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