Thailand

Overview:  Thailand did not experience any attacks attributed to transnational terrorist groups in 2022.  Violence was limited to attacks attributed to ethnonationalist insurgents in the country’s Deep South, comprising the southernmost provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, and parts of Songkhla, which have endured episodic violence since the conflict reignited in 2004.  Violence levels in the Deep South in 2022 remained low, sustaining a multiyear trend.  There is no evidence to date of any operational links between domestic insurgents and international terrorist networks.  In 2022, Thailand remained a productive counterterrorism partner and party to several international cooperations fora.  Thai officials covering counterterrorism portfolios focused on updating domestic counterterrorism policies.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  The number of violent extremist attacks in 2022 likely increased slightly from 2021, with a correspondingly slight increase in fatalities, though a lack of accurate reporting prevents confirmation of the number of attacks and the parties responsible.  Violence remained confined to Thailand’s southernmost provinces, where insurgents used a combination of small arms, IEDs, and vehicle-borne IEDs to attack mostly security or government-linked targets.

  • On May 25, a combined IED and small-arms attack on a police station injured one soldier and two territorial defense volunteers in Narathiwat province.
  • On June 20, violent extremists used a VBIED to attack a police checkpoint on a highway in Pattani Province, injuring three officials.
  • On August 17, a series of IED and arson attacks on 18 gas stations in Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala Provinces left one civilian dead and seven others injured.  The targeted stores are owned by a business conglomerate with close ties to the Thai government.
  • On November 22, a VBIED attack on a police barracks in Narathiwat killed one police official and injured 31 other people.
  • On December 3, an IED attack on a freight train in Songkhla province derailed the train.  Three days later, an IED attack targeting the railway repair workers killed three railway employees and injured four other persons.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  In 2022, Thailand continued drafting its updated four-year National Counterterrorism Strategy for preventing and responding to terrorist attacks.  Under the previous strategy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained plans for collaboration with foreign governments, and it is expected that this updated plan will follow suit.

Thailand’s law enforcement authorities continue to demonstrate capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents.  Multiple entities including the Royal Thai Police (RTP), the Department of Special Investigation, and components of the Thai military have law enforcement responsibilities on counterterrorism cases.  In the Deep South, the military and law enforcement share counterterrorism responsibilities.

Information sharing and interagency coordination between offices with counterterrorism responsibilities remained an occasional challenge, including on border security issues.  Thailand’s immigration system is connected in real time with INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Document Database.  Since 2016, Thailand has collected and analyzed Advanced Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record data on commercial flights at all international airports.

Thailand has continued to host and participate in courses to boost its counterterrorism capabilities, including at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok.  In 2022 the Diplomatic Security Antiterrorism Assistance program provided extensive training to the RTP, covering counterterrorism-related topics such as cyber investigation techniques, explosive ordinance disposal workshops, and training on information sharing.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Thailand is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and its FIU, the Anti-Money Laundering Office, is a member of the Egmont Group.  There were no significant changes in 2022.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism:  In 2022, Thai officials drafted, but had not yet published, a new action plan on CVE.  The plan will focus on mental health resources and bullying, after a former police official killed 37 people, including himself, in an attack on a school in Uthai Sawan, Nong Bua Lamphu province, on October 7.  The national counterterrorism strategy, published in 2017, included a CVE component, and the National Security Policy and Plan (2019-22), published in 2019, includes regionally specific security plans that concentrate on extremism.

International and Regional Cooperation:  There were no changes in 2022.  Thailand remains a member of regional and international multilateral fora, through which it participates in counterterrorism efforts, including ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meetings+, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and APEC.

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