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30 July 2013 - Media release

Improvised Explosive Device components seized at Thai border during INTERPOL-led operation

LYON, France – More than 70 kg of sodium chlorate, a chemical precursor used in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), have been seized during INTERPOL-coordinated border security operations in Southeast Asia.

Bags containing the chemicals were discovered in a van by Thai Customs officials in Songhkla Province, in southern Thailand as part of Operation Hawk which specifically targeted IED components. The amount of sodium chlorate seized was enough to potentially manufacture a number of powerful IEDs.

Two parallel operations were held in Thailand and at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, involving law enforcement officials from police, immigration, customs and border security, who conducted the systematic checks of individuals, vehicles and cargo against INTERPOL’s databases for wanted persons, stolen and lost travel documents and stolen motor vehicles.

Prior to the eight-day operation (8 - 15 July), all agencies involved participated in a pre-deployment training and briefing session covering issues including regional/national terrorist threats, early detection of precursor materials used in the manufacture of IEDs, and the illicit trafficking of radiological/nuclear materials.

Conducted as part of INTERPOL’s Border Management Task Force programme and coordinated by the Public Safety and Terrorism unit, specialist officers from the General Secretariat provided on-site support to national officers in both Thailand and Kuala Lumpur throughout the operations.

“Operation Hawk has shown the added value that INTERPOL’s global tools bring to frontline officers who are responsible for protecting their country’s borders and the safety of their citizens and visitors,” said Mick O’Connell, INTERPOL’s Director of Operational Support.

“While these operations have clearly been a success in terms of identifying and disrupting terrorist threats, they also serve as a springboard for future national, regional and international cooperation with support from INTERPOL.

“The support and commitment of the Thai and Malaysian authorities was critical in these successes and we now look forward to working with other member countries to help them better secure their borders from potential terrorist threats,” concluded Mr O’Connell.

“The experience gained from this operation will be useful to our prevention and suppression of transnational crime as well as combating terrorism in the long-run,” said Major General Manote Tantratian, Head of NCB Bangkok.

“Our participation in INTERPOL’s Operation Hawk reflects Malaysia’s serious commitment in combating transnational crime and enhancing border security against terrorism. Malaysia welcomes the cooperation between INTERPOL and its counterparts in Malaysia and hopes to further strengthen this synergy,” said Dr Azrul Anaz bin Mohamed, Deputy Undersecretary (International Division) with Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs

Funded by the Government of Canada, Operation Hawk was run with support from the World Customs Organization, the Australian Federal Police, the International Organization for Migration, INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Manila, the US Department of Energy and the Slovak Customs Directorate.