Smuggled cigarettes found in rubber plantation ‘may be linked to militants’

POLICE in Pattani seized smuggled cigarettes worth Bt3.3 million from a rubber plantation in tambonThaKamcham of in NongChik district yesterday afternoon.

The 8,932 packs of smuggled cigarettes reportedly belonged to MarudingBinkasem and Kode Thor, who allegedly helped to fund militants led by Seri Taemamu and Russalan Baima. 

These alleged militants have been linked to the bombing on the rail line in Pattani'sKhok Pho district late on Saturday, which killed one railway official and injured three others, as well as causing severe damage to the rear carriage of a local train. Pattani police chief Pol Maj-General ThanogsakWangsupha has said that Seri's group may have been responsible for the attack. 

It was reported that the cigarette-smuggling group was arrested for a similar offence last year and that time it led to the authorities discovering an insurgent base in NongChik, where explosives were seized and bomber suspect SabaliJehali was arrested.